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article imageIs Corporal Punishment On The Brink Of Global Extinction?

By Nikki Weingartner     Jun 10, 2008 in Lifestyle
"Spare the rod, spoil the child" is what some folks use as their reasoning for doling out a good old fashioned whipping. Despite countless adults who stand up now claiming that they are just "fine", is it really an effective tool? Not for many countries.
Children, those blessed angels who bring such warmth and joy to our lives. The thing about them is no one ever passed on that they do in fact test parental patience up to the very border, leaving one to sometimes resort to spankings.
Sure, the argument for the toned down beatings say that they instill discipline and teach right from wrong. Yet those opposed to striking their children believe that it places a child in danger, especially if done when the parent is angry, and leaves the child fearful of the parental hand that should be loving and kind.
Adding an extension to the hand, such as a fly swatter, tree limb, leather strap, ruler or the good 'ol fashioned paddle simply exacerbates the argument with one side claiming that it removes the loving hand from the equation, while the other is saying it is a weapon.
Those who have been on the receiving end of countless "butt whoopins" will tell you that they have turned out just fine, maybe even grateful that their parents were the distributers of pain. Still others will say that it took a mere one "good one" to keep them in line.
Was it fear? Was it pain? Did it really work?
In a recent story about a Texas Justice of the Peace who handed out an ultimatum to a step-dad in his court room: bust your step-daughter's butt or face a huge fine and her having a criminal record; it stands to reason that it would be an acceptable punishment. If a Judge or Justice could hand it out as part of sentencing, then it must be effective and legal...right?
Apparently not, according to The Monitor.
In three other cases in Texas
State Commission on Judicial Conduct actions and recommendations pertaining to judges who have allowed corporal punishment in their courtrooms:
>> March 2002 -- A public reprimand was issued to then-Justice of the Peace John Robert Kleimann of Montgomery County after he told Mike Rooney he could spank his 11-year-old foster son for using profanity at school. The instance was not the first time a child had been paddled in Kleimann's courtroom.
>> April 2004 -- A review tribunal appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas affirmed the recommendations of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that former Justice of the Peace Thurman Bill Bartie of Jefferson County be removed and forever barred from holding judicial office. Incidents of corporal punishment in the courtroom factored in the commission's recommendations.
>> August 2004 -- A private sanction was issued against a judge as a result of his actions and suggestions regarding parents meting out corporal punishment to their children.
Source: State Commission on Judicial Conduct
They were barred, sanctioned or reprimanded and it is all public record and obviously illegal or at least, inappropriate.
In the case of Justice Thurman Bill Bartie, who was forever barred, it was said that he used severe tactics in his courtroom such as hitting juveniles on the head with his gavel or knuckles, punching them in the chest andreportedly "(Bartie) also took his belt off and handed it to parents and encouraged the parents to whip or beat their children with the belt."
One of the other cases was a judge handing a paddle over to a foster parent, creating an intimidating environment where the foster parent felt that he had to hit the child. It is illegal for a foster parent to spank a child in foster care.
The mother and step-father of the teenage girl who Justice of the Peace Gustavo "Gus" Garza allegedly ordered to be hit with a paddle in lieu of a criminal record and fine have officially filed a law suit against the Justice.
Corporal punishment is legal in the United States, in fact, it is legal in all 50 states for parents to spank (hit, belt, paddle or whip) their children. Conversely, it is illegal in all 50 states for an adult to spank, hit, belt, paddle or whip another adult.
Over half of all states in the United States have banned corporal punishment in their schools, with Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina being the leaders in corporal punishment in schools.
According to a recent article on corporal punishment, study upon study has proven a direct link to parental behaviour and problem children, tied in to spanking (or beating). A paper written by two scholars from Michigan makes this point.
European countries are banning both parental spankings and school spankings, leaving the United States to stand with Somalia and the Middle East as leaders in the good old fashioned flogging. And to defend the spanking, experts from the heart of the Southern "spankville" of Oklahoma State University say that spankings during young ages are beneficial but during older years are counter-productive.
A few global rules on spanking:
Britain: parents can strike their children, not bruise.
Canada: children ages 2-12 can be struck, but not with objects or on the head
Chile: outlawed smacking
Greece: outlawed smacking
New Zealand: banned smacking
Portugal: outlawed smacking
Sweden: first country to outlaw all violence by adults against children
Uruguay: outlawed smacking
Venezuela: outlawed smacking
Crime rates in the United States are exceedingly high when compared to places like New Zealand, Canada and England and Wales combined. Sweden has a relatively high crime rate compared to the United States.
Countries like Venezuela are reportedly low but due to the corrupted system, it is difficult to ascertain true statistics. When comparing any criminal statistics, it is important to remember the variances in criminal systems and laws as well.
Although the link between corporal punishment in childhood and a countries incidence of crime has not been determined, it may be a tool of effectiveness as children grow up and become adults who commit crimes and contribute to those statistics.
With the United States being a leader in many ways, including topping the list in global juvenile crime rates and legalized corporal punishment, to spare the rod may prove to temper the child.
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