Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties” (Shmoop.com). On September 17th, 1787 the signing of Constitution of the United States of America took place. The members of the Constitutional Convention met to create a strong, centralized government after the dissatisfaction of the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution created a government made by the people, for the people, which includes minors. Every American citizen has undeniable rights that are provided in the Constitution and that should also protect minors while they are at school and at home, where they should be able to express themselves without punishment as well.
Ingraham v. Wright is a Supreme Court case that deals with corporal punishment at school. James Ingraham, a 14 year old boy, was taken to his principal’s office for “rowdy” behavior. As a punishment for misbehaving, the principal decided to give him five swats with a paddle, although he denied doing anything wrong and refused to be punished, so he was repeatedly swatted twenty times (Jacobs, 8). According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University, paddling violates the Eighth Amendment, which states “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Although, even if paddling is acceptable, students have the right to be heard under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Cornell University, LII). The majority ruling of court was not in James’ favor. Justice Powell gave the opinion of the court stating that “Reasonable physical discipline doesn’t violate the constitution.” As well as, “The Eighth Amendment was designed to protect convicted criminals from excessive punishment at the hands of the government- not school children who misbehave” (Wilson). As stated by the Bill of Rights Institute, in 1791 James Wilson lectured on justice and...
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