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Featured Case

Due process is no grounds for claims arising from "paddling," even if injurious.

Clayton v. Tate County School District

No. 13-60608 (5th Cir. Mar. 25, 2014)

"Fifth Circuit Rules No Constitutional Cause of Action for Excessive Corporal Punishment at School – Even in Mississippi, Which Has the Highest Paddling Rate in the United States"

By Richard Fossey, J.D., Ed.D.

Paul Burdin Endowed Professor of Education


Twyla Williams-Damond, Ed.D.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

In an unpublished opinion dated March 25, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a Mississippi student’s claims that the paddling he received at school violated his constitutional rights. Clayton v. Tate County School District, No. 13-60608 (5th Cir. Mar. 25, 2014). Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1977), the Fifth Circuit rejected the student’s claim that the paddling violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment as well as his claim that he was denied procedural due process of law. In addition, the court rejected the student’s argument that his equal protection rights were violated and his claim that the severity of the punishment violated his right to substantive due process.


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