U7A1 Supreme Court Cases
Supreme Court Case #1: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969)
Background: 1965 three students from Des Moines, Iowa (15 year old John Tinker; his sister, 13 year Mary Beth Tinker; and a friend, 16 year old Christopher Eckhardt), opposing the Vietnam War came up with a plan to wear black arm bands to their respective schools. The arm bands were to serve the purposes of symbolizing a protest against the Vietnam War. School officials got wind of the children’s protest plans and created a policy that if student showed up at school wearing black bands would be suspended and unable to return to school until they agreed to follow the “no black arm band” ...view middle of the document...
Ingraham denied doing anything wrong and refused to accept the swats. The principal proceed to forcibly give Ingraham 20 swats with the paddle. Although the school district did permit corporal punishment, Ingraham suffered from bruises that prompted medical attention. He could not attend school for 10 days. Clamming that the swats were cruel and unusual punishments, Ingraham’s mother sued the principal.
Issue(s): Eight Amendment (Cruel and Unusual Punishment)
Court Decision(s): The Court ruled in favor of the principal. They did not deem corporal punishment as unconstitutional, therefore it did not violate the Eight Amendment. However, the principal and other school officials were cautioned to use restraint when discipling misbehaving children. The seriousness of the situation, the student’s physical condition, etc. should be considered when deciding the punishment.
Chief Justice: BURGER
Legal Impact of the Decision: Each state was given its own right to decide if corporal punishment should or should not be allowed in their schools. However, they were encouraged to consider other possibilities as a mean of discipline.
Supreme Court Case #3: New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985)
Background: A 14 year old freshman, T.L.O, at Piscatway High School in Middlesex County, New Jersey was caught, along with another student, smoking in the school bathroom, which was a violation of school policy. The girls were taken to the Principal’s Office and met with the assistant vice principal, Theodore Choplick. T.L.O.’s friend admitted to smoking, but T.L.O. denied everything. After being taken into Choplick’s office, he confiscated her purse, where he found a package of cigarettes, as well marihuana, a pipe, and other incriminating items. After her mother and the police were called, T.L.O. admitted to selling marihuana at her school. After being found guilty of possessing and selling marihuana, T.LO. appealed, stating Choplick had violated the Fourth Amendment by issuing an “unreasonable” search through her purse.
Issue(s): Fourth Amendment (Privacy)
Court Decision(s): The Court ruled in favor of the school. While students are entitled to their own privacy, the school does have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for everyone, therefore the Fourth Amendment was not violated. T.L.O. was sentence to one year probation.
Chief Justice: BURGER
Legal Impact of the Decision: School officials have the right to search a student’s personal property if it is believed that a school rule has been broken or the student is suspicious of committing a crime. Whole school searches, for example drug dogs or random drug testing, can also be use to ensure the safety of the students.
Supreme Court Case #4: Thompson v. Oklahoma (1988)
Background: When he was 15 years old, William Wayne Thompson, along with three older friends, actively participated in a brutal murder of Thompson's ex-brother-in-law, who had been abusing his sister. Once caught, each of the older friends...