Exploring the Judicial Use of the Ethics of Justice and Care in Deciding Fourth Amendment Cases: Implications for Students' Rights
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This analysis examined the degree to which courts of law reveal non-traditional ethics in the manner in which the legal reasoning is crafted. The study focused specifically on opinions of the court rendered in cases that involved an educator, or his or her agent, conducting a search of a student’s person or property while in the care of the school. This study sought to understand the level to which judges’ opinions reveal an underlying ethical basis, either through justice or care, or perhaps a bit of both. The need for this analysis is significant considering the shift toward increasingly stringent disciplinary practices and legislative agendas that more frequently involve the courts in the administration of student discipline. These increasingly stringent practices are intended to provide a safe and orderly school environment; however, they are contributing to a school and societal climate that is infringing on the constitutionally protected rights of students. A thorough review of available literature identified that little scholarly work has previously been conducted on this specific area. Findings from the study fill an identified void in scholarship relating to the ethical posture of judges as they address student discipline. It was conclusively identified that the prevailing ethical posture of the judges is that of justice. An ethic of care was evidenced, but to a much lesser degree. The most significant finding from the study was the identification of a phenomenon in which courts, solely aligning to an ethic of justice, afford students in their court elements of care by applying a caring legal precedent. This phenomenon was identified as institutionalized care.
Combs, Daniel Philip (2017). Exploring the Judicial Use of the Ethics of Justice and Care in Deciding Fourth Amendment Cases: Implications for Students' Rights. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from