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Domestic CP - May 2005
St Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri, 1 May 2005
Dropped battery charge is "a nightmare", educator says
By Paul Hampel
Steve Jackson speaks at his Mount Joy Missionary Baptist
Church in Edwardsville, where he is a pastor. He works as an
assistant principal at Edwardsville's alternative high
It has been seven weeks since Steve Jackson was arrested for
spanking his sons with a Wiffle ball bat, and almost three weeks
since the resulting domestic battery charges were dropped.
Jackson does not deny using corporal punishment on his adopted
sons, 11 and 15.
Boston Herald, Massachusetts, 1 May 2005
'I did it out of love'
Felony charge for father who spanked son with belt
By Casey Ross and Franci Richardson
A Plymouth father facing a felony charge for using a belt to spank his 12-year-old son over forgotten homework says he's the victim of overzealous authorities with no business telling him how to discipline his child.
"My record is spotless and all of a sudden I have a felony charge?" an exasperated Charles Enloe said following his arrest by Plymouth police. ". . . How is a parent supposed to raise a child these days? You can't spank them, you can't yell at them in stores. I feel I was wrongly charged."
Enloe, a 42-year-old divorced father, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon Thursday after his son and ex-wife reported the spanking to police. Authorities said Enloe's son, who was back in his father's care last night, did not suffer any injuries as a result of the incident.
The case, which also is being investigated by the state Department of Social Services, resurrects the controversial issue of when corporal punishment by parents crosses the line into abuse and criminal activity.
In a high-profile case in 1999, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled parents have the right to spank their children if the discipline does not cause "substantial risk" of injury.
In that case, a Woburn minister was cleared of an abuse charge for using a belt to spank his 9-year-old son, which he said was in accordance with the Bible.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services said the Plymouth case has prompted a "nonemergency" investigation because the boy did not appear to be in imminent danger.
Enloe, who insists he has no personal animosity toward police, said he is mostly upset that spanking his son could constitute a felony. He said he lightly tapped his son on the rear end three times after the boy forgot to bring his homework home from school.
Enloe said his son became scared after the spanking and called his mother, Diana Dematteo, who contacted police and filed for a temporary restraining order. The next day, police arrested Enloe on the felony assault charge and took him to lockup, where he spent two hours before being charged in court. He pleaded innocent and was released on a promise to return June 1.
© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Massachusetts, 3 May 2005
S. Shore parents split on spanking children
Practice is less common but still accepted, national poll says
By Karen Eschbacher
Robert Jaworski and his wife don't believe in spanking their 3-year-old son, Alex.
"In this day and age, I think it's not appropriate when there are other means," Jaworski said yesterday as he pushed his son on a swing in Braintree's Watson Park. "Occasionally a little time out is in order."
Jennifer Orcutt sees things differently. She said spanking is OK "when necessary."
"But I don't think you should ever hit your child with anything but an open hand," Orcutt said as she picked up her son from Wessagusset Primary School in Weymouth. "And I think it should be a last-resort punishment."
The arrest of a Plymouth father last week for spanking his 12-year-old son with a belt has focused public attention on the issue of spanking and raised questions about when a parent's prerogative to discipline crosses the line and becomes a crime.
Charles Enloe, 42, faces a felony charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon because of the punishment, which was prompted by his son leaving a homework assignment at school.
Interviews with parents, police and experts show there is no clear consensus about whether and when such discipline is OK.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Psychological Association oppose spanking, the public, by a 2-1 margin, approves of it, and half of parents say they spank their own children, according to a 2002 ABC News poll of 1,015 adults nationwide.
A 1995 survey conducted by the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire found that 28 percent of parents use a belt, paddle or some other object when meting out discipline to their children.
While the number of parents who spank remains high, the practice is less prevalent than it was a few decades before, said Murray Straus, founder of the UNH lab and an expert on corporal punishment.
It's a change he thinks is for the better.
"In the long-run it's less effective," Straus said. "It undercuts and undermines the bond between parent and child, and that's what parents really depend on, that there's a bond and the child wants to do what mom or dad wants."
Other researchers have reported that spanking can actually make children more aggressive or violent.
But not all experts agree.
Robert Larzelere of the University of Nebraska Medical Center believes negative effects of spanking are often exaggerated. He reviewed dozens of studies that looked at spanking and other forms of punishment and found that, in most cases, spanking did not have significantly different long-term results.
And in some cases, when non-abusive and used to back up other discipline tactics, it can effectively eliminate problem behavior, Larzelere said.
Under the Massachusetts corporal punishment law, it is not illegal for a guardian to strike a child physically or spank a child so long as the child isn't injured or left with bruises, bumps or other physical injuries, according to the state Department of Social Services. The frequency of the punishment is also considered.
In 1997, the Rev. Donald Cobble of Woburn was placed on the state list of child abusers after his 9-year-old son asked a teacher not to send a note home about his school behavior out of fear he would be spanked with a belt.
But two years later, the state's highest court exonerated Cobble and his name was removed from the registry.
Local police say there are no hard-and-fast rules about when corporal punishment becomes a crime.
In the Plymouth case, police said the use of the belt prompted the charges.
Abington Police Chief David Majenski said his officers would contact DSS and consider all circumstances when determining whether to press charges.
"They look at the condition of the house, they look at past issues," Majenski said. "Every person has their own guidelines to go by."
Braintree Deputy Police Chief Russell Jenkins said the parent's intent would also be considered.
"Was the intent to cause an injury, or was it truly in the spirit of correcting improper behavior?" Jenkins said. "It is a difficult call to make."
As for Enloe, he has hired a lawyer and says the experience will change the way he disciplines his son in the future.
"We sat down over the weekend with my ex-wife and agreed not to use the belt anymore," Enloe said yesterday. "I rarely have to discipline my son and I think the belt scared him. Usually I just have to yell at him a little, to brush his teeth, go to bed and behave. I think he was afraid of the belt because he never was disciplined that way. I was always getting into trouble as a young kid so the belt never scared me."
Tammy Race contributed to this story.
Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger
ABC TV News, 3 May 2005
Is Spanking a Religious Duty?
More Christians Starting to Raise Objections to Corporal Punishment
Tyler Wallick says the Bible justifies his use of corporal punishment. (ABC News)
DOVER, Ohio, May 3, 2005 - Tyler Wallick says it is out of faith and love that he spanks his children. He is one of a number of fundamentalist Christians, who in their literal interpretation of the Bible, regard corporal punishment as a religious and parental duty.
Wallick says his boys -- Trey, 10, and Drew, 4, -- only get spanked with a belt when they're dishonest or disrespectful.
For justification, Wallick points to the Old Testament, which says in the book of Proverbs: "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly."
"The bottom line is -- people who do not think it is OK to paddle their children do not believe God's word," he said.
Wallick know that he and his wife's philosophy of parenting runs almost completely counter to what most child psychologists believe. Parenting experts largely argue spanking is bad for children. They recommend time out or taking away privileges.
Encouraged by evangelical speakers and proliferating spanking Web sites, many Christian parents ignore studies that say spanking teaches violence.
Joey Salvati of New Kingston, Pa., is a carpenter who makes paddles and gives them away online. He says spanking must never be done out of anger.
"You give them a swat or two," Salvati said. "You give them a hug. You talk about it. It is over. It's done."
It was an ad for one such device -- a nylon whipping stick designed specifically to spank children -- that provoked Susan Lawrence of Arlington, Mass., herself a Christian, to launch a Web-based crusade to outlaw spanking.
She says some Evangelicals are wrongly relying on verses from the Old Testament -- with its wrathful God -- when they should be looking to the gentle Jesus of the New Testament.
'You Don't Treat People Like Animals'
"Jesus, for instance, said children are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," Lawrence said. "And you don't treat people like that, like they're circus animals."
The issue is causing some division among Christians. The United Methodists issued a 2004 proclamation against all corporal punishment of children, and a number of Catholic dioceses have spoken out against it as well.
But some say the rift is about more than corporal punishment; it is about interpretation of the Bible and the direction of Christianity itself. Many argue the Old Testament lays down plenty of laws Christians no longer follow.
"Why don't we also keep slaves now? Stoning our daughters who may be gotten pregnant before marriage? All that is in the Bible [Old Testament] too," said Al Crowell, director of the San-Francisco based advocacy group Christians for Nonviolent Parenting.
None of that diminishes Wallick's belief that corporal punishment is God's will. As proof that it works, he says he cannot remember the last time he had to spank his children.
ABC News' Dan Harris filed this report for "World News Tonight."
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures
Boston Globe, Massachusetts, 12 May 2005
DSS clears father of abuse
Assault charge still pending
By Stephanie Neil
In a case that explores the sometimes-blurry line between
tough love and abuse, a Plymouth man has been cleared by the Department of Social Services for spanking his son with a belt, but still faces a June 1 hearing on charges of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
"We have completed the investigation. It did not support the allegation of abuse," Denise Monteiro, DSS spokeswoman, said this week. "We . . . found there was no physical abuse." She said the department's investigation was based on 10 days of interviews with pediatricians, police, and teachers.
The State, Columbia, South Carolina, 13 May 2005
'The Rod' has been spared, but don't abandon spanking
By Warren Bolton
"THE ROD" has been spared.
The maker of The Rod apparently has kept his promise to stop making the instrument designed for spanking.
And as a result, an Arlington, Mass., woman who has been lobbying the federal government to ban The Rod has closed a petition on her Web site seeking support. The Web site, stoptherod.net, had been seeking signatures for a year. On May 5, the petition was closed out, having captured 1,074 signatures, according to the site.
"Clyde and Twyla Bullock, who were responsible for manufacturing, advertising, and selling 'The Rod' to whip babies and children, have decided to close their whip-making business, at least for now," a note on the site reads. "This petition is closed, unless it is discovered that they have again started manufacturing, advertising, and/or selling whips or other devices to beat babies and children."
While I believe the Bullocks should have stopped producing The Rod, caring parents who spank in love should hold on to the tried-and-true method.
This is the latest in the ongoing debate over whether corporal punishment should be used. Some people say it's barbaric and teaches violence. Others argue spanking is a proven tool guided by love. Both sides cite Scripture to defend their positions.
For sure, anyone who spanks out of anger or to hurt is headed toward child abuse. They should be jailed. But I contend spanking is effective, while it may not be for everyone. If you're hot-headed and would discipline your children in anger, don't use it.
Growing up, I got my share of whippings. So did my 10 siblings. My mom merged spanking with love, compassion and stern warnings to form a disciplinary system geared to rear her children in a godly, obedient manner.
Susan Lawrence, the person behind stoptherod.net, considers spanking violent and abusive. She says people wrongly use the Bible to promote spanking. Instead, she said, we should treat others as we want to be treated.
That's true. But God chastens those he loves to help them to grow in knowledge and wisdom. That is the role spanking can play. And those parents who use it right will find they don't have to spank day after day. If they use it judiciously, set firm rules and then remain consistent, they will get results. Too many times, parents either don't have rules or don't uphold them.
I believe in spanking, but something doesn't feel right about mass-producing and marketing a device solely for that purpose.
Ms. Lawrence discovered The Rod while reading a magazine. She happened across an ad for The Rod, a $5 whipping stick.
"Spoons are for cooking. Belts are for holding up pants. Hands are for loving. RODS are for chastening," the ad says. It touts the rod as "the means prescribed by God" and cites Proverbs 23:13-14: "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."
It also cites Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."
The 22-inch, flexible nylon rod has a cushioned vinyl grip and is "balanced, easy to use."
Ms. Lawrence, a Lutheran who also has a site called parentinginjesusfootsteps.org, told The Boston Globe she was horrified by the ad. She began a national campaign against The Rod, and asked the federal government to ban it. But in January, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said the device wasn't a hazardous product.
Still, Mr. Bullock told the Globe he would stop making The Rod, citing the opposition to it as well as the fact that the company that made the grips for the rods had pulled out. But Mr. Bullock, a Southern Baptist, said he still believed The Rod was a better choice than a belt or paddle.
Parents certainly ought to be more discriminating about what they use. Most use bare hands. But others have been known to use electric cords, belts, brushes, sticks or other hard instruments, all of which can be harmful in the hands of an angry adult.
Ms. Lawrence still wants all spanking products banned.
Yes, there are others. There's the 9-inch-long, blue polyurethane spanking paddles sold for $6.50 by a man from Bakersfield, Calif. And the almost 2-foot-long wooden spanking paddles sold for $5.75 by a carpenter from New Kingston, Pa.
I can't imagine my mom buying The Rod. Her instrument of choice was most often the switch. At times, there was the belt. She didn't always whip me — just the threat was enough.
Many days, she would catch me in an act and only chastise me verbally. The problem was that I would sometimes break the rules two or three more times before day's end. Out came the "rod," and I paid for all the day's transgressions.
I remember reading an article in The Wall Street Journal in 2000 that said spanking was making a comeback. Parents were going against the advice of experts — meaning the American Academy of Pediatrics — and popping their kids on the legs or bottoms to correct them.
But I've been reading lately that corporal punishment is on the decline. Perhaps that's why so many children are as unruly and disrespectful as ever. It starts at home and is exported to schools, malls — and churches.
We can't allow that to continue. While I'm glad The Rod has been spared, we shouldn't continue spoiling the children.
Boston Herald, Massachusetts, 28 May 2005
Brookline man strikes gold in crusade vs. spanking
By Jessica Fargen
Nope, he doesn't have kids.
He just doesn't like to see kids spanked.
A golden-rule loving Brookline man with a passion for children's' welfare walked away happy Thursday night when town meeting pledged to encourage parents and teachers to stop spanking.
"It's not socially acceptable to hit other adults," said Ron Goldman, who has pushed the idea for a year. "Why should it be acceptable to hit children? It violates the golden rule."
The anti-spanking resolution is believed to be the first in the country. It instructs the town and schools to promote discipline other than corporal punishment - the slapping, hitting and pinching of misbehaving children.
But it didn't come easy.
Selectmen opposed it. An advisory committee said it was an "inappropriate invasion of the government into parenting."
Parents question it.
"I don't advocate spanking, but I don't think the town should dictate how parents raise their kids," said Nikki Gupta, 35, of Brookline.
Goldman points out that the resolution only discourages spanking, it doesn't outlaw it.
He tried two times in the past to get it passed. It passed by nine votes this time. A lover of research and psychology, he just believes that hitting children only makes things worse.
"I might call it a mission, more than a crusade," said Goldman, who is a consulting engineer with a Ph.D. in psychology. "I'm very sensitive about children's welfare."
Studies show, he said, that physical punishment degrades kids and leads to anti-social behavior as an adult.
Susana Soltero contributed.
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