Proportionality, police, and legal consequences

This article documents disappointing behavior by the police in our schools.

A female in class refuses to put her cell phone away. The police are called. She is slammed to the ground. A girl that speaks out and asks if anyone is going to do anything about this – is also arrested resulting in her no longer being able to attend school.

No doubt, misbehavior in class should carry some consequences. Detention, sure. A repeat offender, call to the parents, and a minor day suspension or even an in class suspension.

This article goes after the misapplication of this law disproportionately against people of minorities. That surely is wrong, but I would go after such a law for more specific general application.

Misbehavior in class, unless it results in harm to another student (and I mean harm, not a scrape) should *never* result in a student being picked up and slammed on the ground and taken to prison – perhaps to be treated by the legal system like an adult and serve jail time.

This is similar to people going to prison for parking tickets (of which I just paid two) or being abused and battered while being arrested for parking tickets.

Proportionality in the law has at least two shapes.

  1. No punishment should be greater than the damage caused by the breaking of the law. i.e. a parking ticket is an incredibly minor infraction. Call it 10 points. Kidnapping and being restrained against freely being able to pursue your happiness – 200,000 points a day. Clearly not proportional (at some point I’m going to work on the math and derive points for proportionality).
  2. The execution of the law can never be greater than the harm done by the law broken. i.e. slamming a minor to the ground because they misbehaved – causing physical harm – easily 80,000 points, inducing fear 50,000 points, keeping your cell phone out when told to put it away – 8 points. Clearly not proportional.

There is nothing in our Constitution that addresses the concept of proportionality – at least directly. If there were a new government to form – say on the moon and a new country – proportionality – both in punishment and in execution of the law – should be addressed.

I find it hard to believe though – that throwing students to the ground and prison time for minors flows well with “promote the general Welfare” of the people or “ensure domestic tranquility” in the preamble of the US Constitution.

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