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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Judge took spanking too far in video

The story of a Texas judge’s use of physical discipline on his daughter continues to be of high interest to readers, as local authorities has opted against pressing charges. For federal prosecutors, the decision may differ
Yes, the judge took the spanking of his 16 year-old daughter too far when he gave her 16 lashes for downloading music that was illegal. In the November 3 story featured on the Today Show, it was reported that their were welts on the 16 year old’s legs, arms and behind. Any time there was a mark left on a child after a spanking it was considered abuse and this was considered crossing a line between discipline and abuse.
Child Abuse, defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. The law noticed the parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child; rather, the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment. Physical abuse was the second most reported form of child abuse, defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse would occur when of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child, rather the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment.
What are the most effective methods of punishing disobedience? He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. Proverbs 13:24 (KJV) My mother used spanking and time out. In some extreme cases, she sent me to bed early. She also made me leave the table or took me away if any nonsense occurred. For punishing disobedience, Dr. Phil suggested taking away something the child valued, in other words, restricting them from a favorite privilege such as, a favorite t.v. program, toy, or activity. The use positive reinforcement was also more effective because it gave a sense of value to the child. Yelling, screaming and hitting the child just caused confusion and tension in the child. Being 16, the judge could’ve done this instead of physically spanking his child.
What changes in society had made parental discipline such a hotly debated topic? Most parents saw spanking as a form of abuse. California tried twice in 2007 and 2008 to regulate spanking first by making it against the law when a parent spanked a child under two and again which made it illegal to spank a child with any object. Both attempts failed. For this reason, it was doubtful whether the use of the paddle or corporal punishment would be outlawed in schools both public and private. In 1977, it wasn’t against the law to use the paddle in school. The major concern here was whether it would have been overused in spite of the opinion that it was ‘cruel and unusual’.
In Texas, many schools in larger cities have outlawed corporal punishment. Others in rural and religiously conservative areas, however, still use the paddle regularly. In Wichita Falls, Texas, it wasn’t advertised. It wouldn’t be banned outright, not without a two-thirds majority or 38 of 50 states for a constitutional amendment that got passed.
Temple's school board voted unanimously to revive its use of the paddle after parents requested it. I don't know what I consider more shocking: that not one person on the school board disapproved of hitting students after it had already been banned, that it was these students' own parents that wanted it revived, or that this is all took place in a modern city much larger than the one I grew up in the northeast.
Schools usually claim that paddling is reserved for only the most severe misbehavior and is used sparingly as a last resort, but corporal punishment can easily devolve into physical child abuse. This was consequence of the fact that each school district in Texas was free to act according to its own guidelines when administering corporal punishment. There was no law—whether local, state, or federal—clearly limiting its use. Each school board decided how they interpreted the word ‘severe' when considering misbehavior and how loosely to apply the term ‘last resort.' Moreover, administrators must handle the question of how hard is too hard when hitting a child. Other questions include how often the same student can be paddled, if certain students deserved more than three licks and how to deal with a situation where parents didn't give consent.
Some parents go the opposite direction on the issue of paddling or corporal punishment though. Nearly half of parents of secondary school children say corporal punishment such as the cane or slipper should be reintroduced, a survey suggests. Nearly all surveyed thought teachers should be able to be tougher on pupils. The research, carried out by YouGov, showed slightly less support for corporal punishment than a TES survey in 2000 – which found 51% of parents in favour. And when parents were asked specifically about “smacking/caning children,” support dropped to 40%, with 53% disagreeing.
In spite of the on-going debate of whether spanking was a form of abuse, the judge took things too far when he spanked his daughter in the November 3 video seen on the Today Show, leaving welts on her legs arms and bottom. He crossed a line when that occurred even though he didn’t intend to hurt her.


  1. As a result of this video, the Texas judge got supervised visits with his ten year-old daughter.



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