Corporal Punishment in American Education: Readings in History, Practice, and Alternatives

By Irwin A. Hyman; James H. Wise | Go to book overview

PART IV

LEGAL PERSPECTIVES

This section of the book presents information describing the problem of corporal punishment in the context of constitutional rights. The first essay by Friedman and Hyman presents a description and content analysis of state laws regarding the maintenance of discipline in schools. This study was conducted by writing to all state commissioners of education and receiving actual copies of the state legislation regarding the maintenance of discipline. The analysis of state regulations presented in Table 1 of this essay should be helpful to those interested in conducting their own research.

Much of the publicity and concern about the problems of corporal punishment in recent years has occurred within the context of judicial decisions regarding the rights of children. Until recently, the Supreme Court had rendered a number of decisions which indicated a growing belief that children are entitled to the same constitutional rights as adults. In more recent years, under the influence of the Nixon appointees, a number of cases regarding corporal punishment in the schools have been extensively publicized. The most prominent is the Ingraham v. Wrightcase which was decided by the United States Supreme Court on April 19, 1977. Because this case presents some of the major issues regarding corporal punishment, most of this section of the book is devoted to an analysis of this case.

The next essay is the short brief presented to the Supreme Court on behalf of the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Rights of Children and Youth. This is offered as a example of how a national organization expended resources to support a resolution against the use of corporal punishment in the schools. The following extensive analysis by Virginia Lee deals in depth with the Supreme Court decision. This essay will provide the reader with a rather complete understanding of the case short of reviewing the original case material. An interesting follow-up would be to turn to the essay by Hyman and Lee entitled"A Social Science Analysis of the Supreme Court Decision inIngraham v. Wright"which appears in Part VII of this book.

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