Education Law

Judge Posner Urges Deference for Schools, Says 'Coddled' Kids Should Roll with the Punches

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Judge Richard Posner admits he was a bit of a teacher’s pet when he was a kid. He does recall a detention—based on false accusations, he says—and he also remembers that he never considered the idea of a lawsuit over the discipline.

“When I was a kid, the notion that children had rights against schools was unknown,” the 72-year-old Posner said in a Nov. 11 speech in Chicago at the national conference of the Education Law Association. The Education Week blog School Law has details.

Posner, a judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said some school litigation is a result of “hypersensitive” reactions by students, and school administrators deserve more deference. “It seems to me judges ought to be very cautious before they try to displace the authority of the school administrators,” he said.

Posner said students need to “learn to roll with the punches,” according to the blog account. “Modern American kids, it seems to me, have excessive self-esteem,” Posner said. “They’re spoiled and coddled. Many of them have very aggressive parents.”

Posner has ruled for and against students in appellate decisions, the story says. He ruled for administrators who barred gifted eighth graders from wearing T-shirts appearing to disparage nongifted students as “tards,” short for “retards,” the story says. But in a different case he ruled for high school students who wanted to wear T-shirts reading “Be Happy, Not Gay.”

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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