TOPEKA, KS— In a narrow 5-4 vote, the Supreme Playground Court of Smileyvale Elementary School ruled that the “Five Second Rule” was constitutional.
“We really hadn’t seen a case like this since Brown,” commented Associate Justice Viola Martin, while waiting by the front curb with her carpool group after the school day had ended. “But stare decisis proved to be the guiding principle here today, and my fellow associates agreed to follow case precedent.”
In Dec. 2016, third-grade plaintiff Roger Melnick was denied the right to eat his Fruit Rollup after it fell out of his hands during a round of tetherball. The Playground Safety Patroller on-duty at the time, fifth-grader Miles Carpenter, threatened to “tell on” Melnick if he proceeded to eat the snack.
“I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them,” said Carpenter after the court’s ruling was announced. “At the end of the day I was simply trying to do my job.”
For the next four months, the case made its way up the judicial circuit after the Lower Four Square Court ruled in favor of Carpenter and the original plaintiff appealed the decision. After the First Grade Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Carpenter again, Melnick petitioned for a writ of certiorari from the Supreme Playground Court.
“The ‘Five Second Rule’ is a hot political topic on jungle gyms across the nation,” explained Associate Justice Alex Scranton, who authored the majority ruling. “I hope our decision today settles the issue once and for all.”
But not everyone agreed with the ruling, with four of the Playground Supreme Court justices signing onto the dissenting opinion written by Chief Justice Sue Hader Linberg. “The very nature of the ‘five second rule’ violates everything our Founding Yard Duties stood for,” wrote Linberg.
Melnick v. Smileyvale Safety Patrol (2016) has been the most politically-charged ruling of the current judicial session. The opinion comes one week after the court ruled in favor that all students – no matter their grade or reading level – were eligible for “tag backs.”