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Newsday, New York, 5 June 1999
Survey: Spanking Favored
A NATIONAL POLL released Thursday by Children's Institute International found that a majority of adults believe in corporal punishment of children. Of the adults surveyed, 55 percent said a "good, hard spanking" is sometimes necessary; 82 percent were spanked as children.
"It's worrisome that spanking remains such a part of the American culture, in view of scientific evidence demonstrating its ill effects," says Steve Ambrose, clinical psychologist and director of research at the institute, which serves Los Angeles-area children and their families, with a special focus on the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.
"This suggests the need for continued public education. We are not saying parents shouldn't discipline their children, but there are more appropriate and effective ways than hitting them." Those surveyed drew the line at leaving marks or using a belt. If marks were left on a 2-year-old, it would be child abuse, 60 percent said, and 74 percent called using a belt on a 2-year-old child abuse. Slightly more than 50 percent considered it child abuse to put marks on a 12-year-old or to spank a 12-year-old with a belt.
In other results: 8 percent of adults said spanking is the best way to discipline a child.
Speaking with the child was preferred by 31 percent.
Time outs were favored by 19 percent.
Taking away privileges was preferred by 19 percent.
The survey of 981 randomly selected adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. It was commissioned by the institute to frame the discussions and debates for its second national forum, "Imagine a Brighter Future: Solutions for Children in Crisis," which ended recently. Attending were more than 50 specialists and 600 representatives of children's organizations, foundations, government, education, law enforcement, religion and business.
Rewarding positive behavior, using logical consequences and establishing time-outs are some of the alternatives to spanking provided in a fact sheet produced by the institute.
Called "Break the Spanking Habit," it is available on the Web at www.childrensinstitute.org.
Copyright 1999, Newsday Inc.
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, 6 June 1999
Children's Group Bashes Spanking Bill
By Penny Owen
Violent parenting produces violent children - and Oklahoma's lawmakers are condoning such behavior by reminding parents that they can spank, paddle or swat their children, a Los Angeles-based children's group said.
The Children's Institute International was responding to state Senate Bill 768, which emphasizes an existing law that allows parents to discipline their children by spanking, paddling or whipping them with a switch - without fear of retribution.
The bill overwhelmingly passed both the House and Senate last week and is awaiting Gov. Frank Keating's approval.
"Oklahoma lawmakers are sending the wrong message. It's irresponsible," said Mary Emmons, the institute's chief executive officer. "Lawmakers would be better served spending their time finding the money to fund parent education programs, not laws that promote child abuse."
The institute cited a national poll that said most Americans would consider part of the state Legislature's bill to be child abuse. It said many parents are seeking alternatives to spanking, but that spanking is still a big part of the American culture, despite its ill effects.
"That comes from the bleeding-heart liberals who don't believe in disciplining their children at all. I think they're all wrong," said Sen. Frank Shurden who sponsored the bill and scoffed at the institute's claims. "That's usually where the bad stuff starts is on the West coast and then moves inward."
Shurden, D-Henryetta, inserted the reminder in response to the April 20 Columbine High School massacre, in which two teens went on a shooting rampage that left them and 13 others dead.
He said teen-agers are out of control because they lack discipline from their parents. Parents, on the other hand, are afraid to discipline their children because they fear the state Department of Human Services will come after them.
The lawmaker argued that if parents are responsible for their children's behavior until they turn 18, then they have the right to control that behavior by spanking or hitting them with a switch.
Since the bill passed, Shurden said he has gotten lots of calls - mostly in support of spanking, but some against it as well.
"One person said I was going to set the state back 50 years with this kind of language," Shurden said. "But with the crime rate we had in 1949, I'd do it in a second. I think we had one state penitentiary in 1949 and I don't think it was full. Kids could play outside after dark and we didn't have to worry about them."
Steve Ambrose, a clinical psychologist with the Children's Institute, said his organization believes children should be disciplined, just not with physical force.
"Corporal punishment has just the opposite effect that most parents are trying to accomplish," Ambrose said. "In the short term it may stop the obnoxious behavior ... but over the long term corporal punishment has repeatedly been shown that it increases violent behavior."
The Detroit News, Michigan, 10 June 1999
Oklahoma reminds parents it's OK to spank kids
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma law reminding parents they have a right to spank their children will be adopted on July 1, a spokesman for Governor Frank Keating said Thursday.
The bill, sponsored by state legislators in reaction to the Colorado high school shootings in April, was signed into law by the governor late Wednesday, spokesman Rick Buchanan.
"I was spanked as a child and I turned out all right. I spanked my children and they turned out all right," Keating said in a statement after the signing.
"As parents we have the obligation to love but we also have the obligation to discipline," Keating said.
The bill inserts language into state laws against child abuse that makes clear parents may use "reasonable force" to discipline their children by spanking, paddling or whipping with a switch.
State law already allowed spanking, but supporters of the bill said they wanted to remind parents of their rights in order to counter what they saw as a breakdown in discipline that led to the Littleton, Colorado shootings. Two heavily armed teenage students rampaged through Columbine High School, killing 13 people and then themselves.
The law has been decried by some child advocacy groups as an invitation to child abuse.
"Lawmakers would be better served spending their time finding the money to fund parent education programs -- not laws that promote child abuse," Los Angeles Children's Institute International said after the bill passed the legislature late last month.
Keating dismissed the idea that the law could lead to more child abuse. "Spanking is all right. Beating is not all right," he said.
Deseret News, Utah, 16 June 1999
9-year-old boy endures hot car to avoid spanking
A 9-year-old boy was hot, sweaty, but otherwise OK after he was ordered to remain in the family car for more than an hour or get spanked.
The child was found Monday in the beginning stages of heat exhaustion after the car was ordered towed from an illegal parking spot near the Flower Patch at 502 S. State.
The wrecker driver found the child wet with sweat and authorities were alerted. Police said the boy wanted to leave the hot car, but was afraid because he had been threatened with a spanking.
APB News, New York, 18 June 1999
Child abuser allowed to air views on discipline
Judge OKs TV Appearance for Former Talk Show Host
By Keith Coffman
GOLDEN, Colo. (APBNews.com) -- A controversial former talk show host convicted of misdemeanor child abuse for whipping his stepson with a belt can go on national TV to air his views on child discipline, a county judge has ruled.
Probation officials sought to block Bob Enyart from appearing tonight on the Father's Day edition of ABC's Politically Incorrect because it would undermine Enyart's rehabilitation by giving him a national forum to justify his actions, despite his criminal conviction.
But Jefferson County Judge Charles Hoppin ruled that Enyart was not a public threat, and preventing him from traveling to California for the show would violate his First Amendment right to free speech.
Beating left welts
Enyart, 40, was released from jail May 25 after serving a 60-day sentence for striking the 7-year-old boy several times with a belt for disobeying his mother. Evidence at the trial showed the blows raised three welts on the boy's buttocks.
Enyart's TV show, which was a combination of Christian fundamentalism and anti-government and anti-homosexual rhetoric, has been off the air since his conviction. It was produced locally but carried on cable systems across the country.
On the show, Enyart frequently bashed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which he has said helps guilty criminals go free and defends child pornographers.
But in a peculiar twist to his own case, Enyart enlisted two ACLU lawyers, Patrick Mulligan and Randy Canney, to argue his Constitutional rights to free speech were being violated.
Enyart was unavailable for comment, but the unusual alliance was not lost on his attorneys.
"The irony of it all is hilarious," Canney said.
But Canney said the legal issues were very serious because probation officials were trying to "stifle" Enyart because they disagree with his child-rearing ideas.
"They were really pushing the envelope related to his speech," he said.
The agency that made the request, Intervention Community Corrections, is a private company that contracts probation supervision with the county.
Cheryl Marshall, Intervention's executive director, told APBNews.com her agency's concerns were that the publicity would have a "detrimental effect" on their rehabilitation efforts and could make the boy feel victimized a second time.
"We believed it merited the court's attention," Marshall said.
Marshall said she was satisfied with the court's restriction that Enyart not identify the boy on the show.
Probation's role questioned
The ACLU's Mulligan said that although he felt the request was made in good faith, the agency clearly overstepped its bounds and went from a supervisory to an advocacy role.
"What is the role of probation, to force someone to change his views?" Mulligan said. "I've never heard [Enyart] speak, and I'm sure I'd disagree with most of it, but how to discipline children is a major social debate where even the experts disagree."
But most everyone in the courtroom had to side with Enyart on the free speech question. Even prosecutor George Bauchler couldn't argue against allowing Enyart to speak his mind, but instead persuaded Hoppin to impose the restrictions on Enyart to not name the child victim.
Set fire to O.J. memorabilia
Enyart made national news several months ago when he raised $11,000 from viewers to buy some of O.J. Simpson's football memorabilia. The items were ordered auctioned to offset the multimillion-dollar judgement against Simpson in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman.
Enyart and his supporters then set fire to the items on the steps of a Los Angeles courthouse.
Politically Incorrect is a panel show hosted by comedian Bill Maher in which celebrity guests and others debate topics of the day. Other guests scheduled to appear with Enyart tonight include comic actor Martin Short and singer and television personality Donny Osmond.
Keith Coffman is an APBNews.com correspondent in Colorado.
The Tampa Tribune, Florida, 22 June 1999
This is about deputies charging a man with child abuse, May 30 Pasco edition. I am in no way affiliated with or know Darrell Lee Farr Jr., other than the information I read in the paper, which states he used a belt to hit his stepson four or five times, causing "welts," because he failed to tell his parents about a detention he received in school. I was horrified. I was horrified because Mr. Farr was arrested.
We are in a society in which discipline is a crime. We wonder why we have Columbine High School shooting incidents and gangs. I'm not sure of the statistics, but I believe we have the most violent youth of our times. The only solution I have seen from our government is stricter gun-control laws. That is doing nothing for our out-of-control children.
I do not apologize for the fact that I was raised many times "by the belt." In fact, I am quite proud of the four children my parents raised that way. We are now all in our 40s and, not amazingly, have not been arrested, jailed, imprisoned or placed on probation, costing the government $50,000 or more a year to keep us away from society. Teaching us "the hard way" not to lie, cheat or steal made us quite productive, taxpaying and voting adults. We all pay our own bills, have consistent work histories and ethics and aren't on welfare or food stamps. We keep our automobiles insured and registered. We have driver's licenses, Social Security cards, bank accounts and homes. We follow the rules. We were taught responsibilities, duties and discipline!
Believe me, I am heartbroken for children who are seriously abused. Yes, protect them at all costs. Why were the parents, in an article in the same paper, let out on bail for allegedly leaving their 3- year-old and 1-year-old home alone, while a father who cares enough to discipline is held without bail?
When I was in school, we feared. We knew what would happen if we were bad. There was a large paddle with holes in it on the blackboard in front of the class. It was used, too. Sent to the principal's office, the student would come back to class, trying to hold back the tears and embarrassment, and behaving much better. Now, if it's used, even at home, you go to jail.
Our poor children - what are they losing by our government not allowing us to discipline them?
Linda S. Iwersen, Dade City
© Copyright 1999 The Tampa Tribune
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