James Ingraham a 14 year old eight grader was taken to the principal's office after the teacher accused him of being rowdy in the school auditorium. The principal decided to give him 5 swats with a paddle, but James said that he hadn't done anything wrong and refused to be punished. He was subsequently held down while the principal gave him 20 swats.
While corporal punishment was permitted in the school district , James suffered bruises that kept him out of school for 10 days and he had to seek medical attention. James and his mother sued the principal and other school officials claiming the paddling violated 8th amendment protections against "cruel and unusual punishments."
The supreme court ruled against James. The court said that reasonable physical descipline at school doesn't violate the constitution. The 8th amendment, the justices said, was designed to protect convicted criminals from excessive punishment at the hands of the government not school children who misbehave. The court, however, did direct principals and teachers to be cautious and use restraint when deciding whether to administer corporal punishment to students.