By Dina Palomo
Players in the case:
James Ingraham was an 8th grader who was 14 years old. He attended Charles R.
Drew Junior High School in Florida in Dade
County. He was the plaintiff (who brought the case against the defendant).
Willie J. Wright Jr was the principal of
Charles R. Drew Junior High School. He was the defendant (who was being sued/accused). What happened:
James Ingraham was told to leave the auditorium stage by a teacher but since he refused he was taken to the principal's office where he was asked by principal Wright to bend over to get spanked as his punishment. When Ingraham refused, two of the assistant principals forced him to bend over and held him by the arms and legs so that principal Wright could spank him.
Ingraham was spanked with the wooden paddle more than 20 times. Due to the corporal punishment he received, he had to receive medical attention since he got hematoma which wouldn’t allow him to sit for 11 days. At Charles R. Drew Junior High School in Dade County Florida, according to the Dade County School Board policy, the teacher was able to spank a student with permission of the principal but the punishment had to take place with presence of an adult and the student should be informed for the reasons they were receiving corporal punishment. The Florida law also allowed corporal punishment with paddles to discipline students but the paddles were required to be flat, less than 2 ft long, 4 inches wide and 1/2 inches thick, and the teachers were only allowed to spank students with paddles up to 5 times on their bottoms.
James Ingraham and Andrews Roosevelt both filed a complaint on January 7th, 1971 in the
United States district court for the Southern
District of Florida against Principal Wright and the policies the county had.
The complaint included 3 counts. One and two were over the damages caused by the paddling they both received. Count three was a class action where all the students in the Dade County Schools filed for a court order to cease the corporal punishment due to the damages it was causing.
Although the two students had evidence to prove that the punishment they had received was excessive and to them the 8th and