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Ingraham v. Wright (1977) Corporal Punishment in the Schools Rita Nogin Corporal Punishment in the Schools Rita Nogin.

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Presentation on theme: "Ingraham v. Wright (1977) Corporal Punishment in the Schools Rita Nogin Corporal Punishment in the Schools Rita Nogin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ingraham v. Wright (1977) Corporal Punishment in the Schools Rita Nogin Corporal Punishment in the Schools Rita Nogin

2 Dead Poet’s Society iA iA

3 Case Background James Ingraham (8th grader) was paddled by the principal for being too slow in responding to a teacher’s orders resulted in hematoma and rest for 11 days James Ingraham and Roosevelt Andrews were paddled on 3 separate occasions Andrews lost the full use of his arm; 16 other students testified in support of their claims Parents sued due to cruel and unusual punishment and loss of liberty students have a right to be heard before physical punishment is administered

4 Case Background Parents lost case in trial and appeals courts Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school district: U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment does not apply to the corporal punishment of students in a public school Due process clause (14th Amend.) does not require notice and a hearing prior to imposition of punishment in public schools

5 Case Results decision Public school students could be paddled without first receiving a hearing Justice Powell: “the risk of error that may result in violation of a school child’s substantive rights can only be regarded as minimal.” “Imposing additional safeguards as a constitutional requirement might reduce that risk marginally, but would also entail a significant intrusion into an area of primary educational responsibility”

6 So Basically... Hitting students to maintain school discipline is not cruel and unusual punishment and the violation of students’ rights is minimal Due process does not require an opportunity to be heard prior to the punishment

7 Cruel and Unusual Punishment 8th Amendment criminal punishment which is considered unacceptable due to suffering/humiliation that it inflicts on the condemned person Cannot be arbitrary, degrading to human dignity; has to be totally rejected throughout society

8 Due Process Clause 14th Amendment Prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without proper steps being taken to ensure fairness Basis for Brown v. Board of Education (racial segregation) and Reed v. Reed (sex discrimination)

9 Related Cases Ingraham is one of a series of cases where the Supreme Court struggles to find proper balance between the rights of individuals and the needs of schools to keep maintain order

10 Related Cases Tinker v. Des Moines School District (1969) group of students wore black armbands to protest Vietnam War 1st Amendment applied to public schools unless there were valid reasons for specific regulation of speech It would be unconstitutional to restrict free speech just because people were uncomfortable with the message

11 Related Cases Goss v. Lopez (1975) 9 students were suspended for 10 days for vandalism School principals did not hold hearings for the affected students before suspension SC ruled in favor of Lopez (the students) Due Process Clause: Ohio had to recognize students’ rights to education as a property interest and cannot be taken away without proper procedures

12 Related Cases Baker v. Owen (1975) Baker was a frail child and his mother did not want him to be physically disciplined, despite North Carolina’s statute permitting it Mrs. Baker filed a complaint in federal court that her right to care for her child was abridged by the school ignoring her request (14th amendment) Corporal punishment without a hearing -- violated right to due process use of physical discipline was a violation of the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment) Court ruled in favor of the school district -- found the school’s interest greater than Mrs. Bakers

13 Related Cases Baker v. Owen, continued student must be informed of the behaviors that could result in corporal punishment corporal punishment should not be used as a first choice second professional should be present during administration of punishment must provide the child’s parents a written reason for the punishment

14 Related Cases Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) Student refused to consent to random drug testing --> was not allowed to play on his football team Issue: 4th Amendment (protection against unreasonable search and seizure) SC ruled in favor of the school district: Students are under State supervision during the day are subject to greater control than free adults Government concern over safety of minors overrides the minimal intrusion in student-athletes’ privacy

15 Psychological Data Punishment at full intensity does stop undesirable behavior Students may imitate punishing behavior outside of the classroom -- supports theory that corporal punishment teaches aggressive behavior Use of corporal punishment can lead to escape and avoidance responses --withdrawal, tardiness, absenteeism Overall: can be psychologically harmful to children and alternatives to maintaining discipline are preferable

16 Implications for School Psychologists NASP policy: “corporal punishment negatively affects the social, psychological, and educational development of students and contributes to the cycle of child abuse and pro- violence attitudes of youth”(NASP Delegate Assembly, 1998).

17 Implications, cont. School psychologists can work to abolish corporal punishment by promoting alternatives through training and consultation Sensitizing school staff to the potential legal sanctions for the use of corporal punishment can be costly (legal defense fees) and time- consuming

18 Alternatives Rules and resolutions Recognition and rewards Parent reinforcement Peer mediators Students as policy makers In-school isolation (ISS) Service work Tokens and trips

19 In Conclusion... No constitutional basis for abolishing corporal punishment Courts recognize potential impact of professional opinion School psychologists should promote alternatives to corporal punishment as a form of discipline Need to be aware of the psychological ramifications of corporal punishment on students

20 Works Cited Benjet, C., & Kazdin, A.E. (2003). Spanking children: Evidence and issues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12 (3), Bersoff, D.N., & Prasse, D. (1978). Applied psychology and judicial decision making: Corporal punishment as a case in point. Professional Psychology (August), Dupper, D.R., & Montgomery Dingus, A.E. (2008). Corporal punishment in U.S. public schools: A continuing challenge for school social workers. Children and Schools, 30 (4), GOSS v. LOPEZ. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 18 November http://www.oyez.org/cases/ /1974/1974_73_898 Hicks-Pass, S. (2009). Corporal punishment in America today: Spare the rod, spoil the child? A systematic review of the literature. Best Practice in Mental Health 5 (2), Hyman, I. (1978). A social science review of evidence cited in litigation on corporal punishment in the school. Journal of Clinical and Child Psychology (Fall), Hyman, I., Stefkovich, J.A., & Taich, S. (2002). Paddling and pro-paddling polemics: Refuting nineteenth century pedagogy. Journal of Law and Education 31(1), Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977). McCarthy, M.M. (2005). Corporal punishment in public schools: Is the United States out of step? Educational Horizons (Summer), Mercure, C.M. (1994). Elementary schools’ answer to corporal punishment. Education Digest 60 (4), Roberts, T. D. (1978). Right to treatment for the civilly committed: A new eight amendment basis. The University of Chicago Law Review 45 (3), TINKER v. DES MOINES IND. COMM. SCHOOL DIST.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 November http://www.oyez.org/cases/ /1968/1968_21 VERNONIA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. ACTON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 25 November http://www.oyez.org/cases/ /1994/1994_94_590


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