Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Delaware outlaws spanking

A homeschooling site reports:
When Governor Jack Markell signed into law Senate Bill 234 on September 12, 2012, Delaware became the first state in the in the nation to effectively outlaw corporal discipline of children by their parents.

Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Patricia M. Blevins (District 7), the legislation creates a definition of the term “physical injury” in the child abuse and neglect laws to include “pain.” Currently the law permits a parent to use force to punish a child for misconduct, but it prohibits any act that is likely to cause or does cause physical injury. By defining “physical injury” to include the infliction of pain on a child, spanking has become a crime in Delaware punishable by imprisonment.

Under the new law, a parent causing “physical injury” (e.g., pain) to a child under age 18 would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and subject to one year in prison. A parent causing pain to a child who was 3 years of age or younger would be guilty of a class G felony and subject to two years in prison.

Home School Legal Defense Association opposed this bill as a violation of the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children, including the long-recognized right to administer reasonable corporal discipline. HSLDA worked with the Delaware Home Education Association and the Delaware Family Policy Council in an effort to bring about a defeat of this legislation.
The European nanny state is spreading to the USA. Part of Germany has banned male circumcision.

Spanking by public schools is legal in many states, and may be coming back to Florida:
OCALA, Fla. -

The idea of corporal punishment in schools may seem like something out of another era, but school officials in Marion County may bring the practice of paddling back. ...

"It was very effective the way we implemented it. We only did it on very small occasions, but it was for children who were chronic [misbehavers]," Ely said.

During her experience as principal, Ely said she saw firsthand that paddling was more effective than other forms of punishment, like suspension.
Despite many attempts, no study has shown that spanking is harmful or that any other form of discipline works any better.

This law is a direct attack on family autonomy. Without some clear-cut demonstrable harm, the state has no business telling parents how to rear kids.

Furthermore, this law opens up parents to false accusations. In the old law, physical injury could be documented by objective medical evidence of broken bones, burns, welts, or whatever. Under the new law, a parent can goto prison for "causing pain". Someday Delaware will expand that to "causing physical, psychological, or emotional pain". The vagueness of the law will be justified by saying that authorities need maximum discoretion for child protection. These laws are going to cause a lot more harm than good. There is no evidence that European spanking laws have done any good at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is actually evidence that shows that no spanking in European countries has dramatically improved things like crime rates decreasing, rate of incarceration reduced and many other positives (particularly in the Scandinavian countries where spanking has been outlawed since the 70's I believe). Now, I am not sure that I agree with the government legislating parenting, but there are numerous studies that show that children exposed to violence growing up (and make no mistake, spanking IS in fact violence) have higher likelihood of being incarcerated and not performing as well on intelligence tests as compared to those not spanked or exposed to violence. I'm not sure how anyone can say there is no data to show that spanking doesn't do anything but harm children. (I mean, when was the last time YOU changed your behavior because someone hit you or threatened/intimidated you?)