First Amendment Rights-Ingraham v. Wright

First Amendment Rights-Ingraham v. Wright My case is the one of fourteen year old James Ingraham vs. his middle school principle Willie J. Wright Jr. James’ parents are suing the Middle school their son attends (Charles R. Drew Junior High School) because they feel that their son was condemned to cruel and unusual punishment and has lost his liberty as a citizen of the United States. On October 6, 1970, Ingraham and another student were called into the principal’s office. James’ offense was failing to leave the school auditorium stage when instructed to do so by a teacher.
Once in the principal’s office, James announced his innocence against the accusations of the teacher. Mr. Wright was unconvinced and ordered Ingram to bend over the table so that Wright could pk him using the discipline paddle. Ingraham refused to do so, and Wright began to force James’ head down on the table. The assistant Principal, Lemmie Deliford, assisted Wright by holding Ingraham’s legs. Wright then proceeded to strike Ingram with the paddle over 20 times, resulting in Ingram getting a hematoma.
The hematoma resulted in Ingraham being hospitalized and requiring rest for eleven days. The court ruled in favor of the school because they said the U. S Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment did not apply to corporal punishment in the school system. Even the Supreme Court failed to consider the case because they ruled that the eight amendment, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment, was intended to protect people charged with a crime, and didn’t apply to young children.

It was decided that schools are public institutions and it’s very unlikely for something like abuse to happen. This case was one of the many failed attempts in trying to shed light on corporal punishment. Additionally, the Supreme Court has denied judicial review in the case whether corporal punishment is denying our children of their legal rights as a person. This case is important to us as citizens because rights are potentially being violated under our U. S Constitution. Even though children are minors, they should still be guaranteed the same rights as adults.
There is a fine line drawn between punishment and discipline, especially in the school system. If Ingraham’s parent’s never brought this case to suit, there could still be students today being beaten and tortured by school officials. Students deserve the right to feel safe at school and feel like their word will be heard. For example, in this case, Ingraham tried to defend himself by telling the principal he did not do what the teacher had accused him of. The principal refused to listen and punished him anyway.
Today, corporal punishment is banned in 31 states. However, this means that 19 states are still allowed to perform corporal punishment. Instruments used include canes, wooden paddles, slippers, leather straps, yardsticks, etc. Proponents of corporal punishment feel that it’s a quick and immediate response to discipline and the students will be back in class learning again. They feel this is a much better solution than suspension or expulsion. I don’t agree with this. I feel there are better solutions to discipline than corporal punishment.

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