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Stop hitting children. Stop hitting, period

Mar 15, 2011 Stop hitting children. Stop hitting, period

Plenty of times, I have blogged in support of non-violence.

Not having time today to address the following more than briefly, I nevertheless implore everyone reading these words to not hit children, and to stop if that has been a practice of yours. No exceptions.

Indeed, I have defended people accused of assaulting children, and will continue doing so. I know that Virginia caselaw — among all the jurisdictions I practice in — is the most favorable for getting a acquitted upon proving that corporal punishment was merely for discipline, where anger is not a motivation for the assailant. The foregoing does not make me waiver one bit in my zero acceptance of assaulting children.

Let me tell you something: When you assault someone, you are not only assaulting his or her body, but also his or her spirit, hopes, dreams, self-esteem, and ability to be peaceful, empathetic, and caring towards others.

Motivating today’s blog entry is a link in a recent ABA Journal online posting to this story about a federal lawsuit (here is the docket) against corporal punishment at a Mississippi high school.

The article says: "The 22-page lawsuit cites U.S. Department of Education statistics that said more than 220,000 students in the United States were paddled in the 2006-2007 school year alone, with a majority of those in five states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas." The lawsuit also alleges a disproportionately high rate of corporal punishment against African-American children. That is particularly shameful when considering Mississippi’s shameful history of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow.

I have understand that many people believe that corporal punishment of children is mandated by the bible, so as not to spoil the child by sparing the rod. Does that injunction about sparing the rod mean corporal punishment, or the proverbial rod? If it means corporal punishment, for argument’s sake, that does not sway my views stated herein one bit.

Many people who assault children will have trouble stopping on their own. Plenty of affordable and hopefully effective and confidential counseling and anger management programs are available to help. They need to be used.

Enough is enough. Children are not punching bags. No matter how badly a child may seem to stray, hitting in response is never the right answer. Never, ever, ever.

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