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April 1980

Corporal Punishment in American Education

Author Affiliations

Graduate School of Education and Human Development University of Rochester Rochester, NY 14627

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(4):435. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.04490010083032

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In 1977, two youths severely beaten by their junior high school principal brought before the US Supreme Court the controversial issue of corporal punishment. The resulting Ingram vs Wright decision sparked a furor in American education. The highest court of the land ruled that corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool does not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Two years after the Supreme Court ruling, Irwin Hyman and James Wise, in their compendium Corporal Punishment in American Education, have attempted to sift through the complex, multidisciplinary array of questions corporal punishment raises. However, as they state in their foreword, theirs is no dispassionate examination of the issue; it is a statement of the need for and search for rational alternatives, which is meant to inform the discussion in light of the Supreme Court ruling. The book is organized into eight sections, including historical perspectives, legal perspectives,