George Washington Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 1 (November 1996), pp. 49-105


This Article focuses on how the Supreme Court's conception of the public school as either an institution of social reproduction or reconstruction, a conflict Professor Dupre maintains is deeply rooted in intellectual history, has affected the power that public schools have been afforded in matters of discipline and order. Professor Dupre argues that the Court -- by allowing the reconstruction model to influence its opinion for almost thirty years -- paved the way for the decline in school order and educational quality. Although Professor Dupre contends that the Court's recent repudiation of the reconstruction model in Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, is a welcome and heartening revelation for those who would revitalize the public school as a force of social integration, she suggests further refinements to the Court's new approach based on the writings of constitutional framer James Wilson, contemporary ethicist David Luban, and Justice John M. Harlan.