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It was just 45 years ago today, October 20, 1975, when the Supreme Court ruled that corporal punishment was legal in all schools. That’s right everyone, the swat on the backside is legal. That Catholic nun with her ruler, totally legal, my God, even I have my students stand with their nose in the corner. The Supreme Court, ruling on Baker vs. Owen, stated that corporal punishment did not violate the 8th Amendment’s “cruel and unusual punishment”, nor the 14th Amendment’s “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property”.
The case arose when a sixth grader, Russell Baker, was punished for breaking a school rule, though his mother had spoken to the staff and wished that no punishment be administered. In response, the mother sued the school, including the Principal, W.C. Owen. It was a quick case, the Supreme Court actually sided with the lower courts ruling, that corporal punishment does not violate any rights. However, states and individual school districts are allowed to decide whether or not they will use corporal punishment. Luckily, Arizona does have corporal punishment, muhahaha, and so spanking with the “Board of Education” was ruled Constitutional 45 years ago, today.
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