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Domestic CP - March 2006

Corpun file 17510

Birmingham News, Alabama, 23 March 2006

6 juveniles doing community service

By Bill Plott
News staff writer


Six Fairfield juveniles are spending their spring break trying to stay out of detention.

The boys, arrested by Fairfield police over the weekend, are removing graffiti they spray-painted on local businesses and doing other community service.

They were paraded before the Fairfield City Council at its meeting this week before being put to work.

"We worked out a deal with the parents that if they provide a week of community service this week while they're out of school, we won't go and seek formal charges against them," Police Chief Pat Mardis said. "In addition, they've got to clean up every area they messed up."

Two of the boys, ages 13 to 16, were caught in the act of spray-painting graffiti on the back of the Bargain Town store in downtown Fairfield about 6 p.m. Friday. They were arrested by Officer Larry Kennon after police received an anonymous tip.

"They hit six businesses down there. One of them was a church," said Mardis. "It was wannabe gang stuff, the usual pitchforks and dollar signs stuff. One of them said he was member of The Insane Gangster Disciples but he couldn't even spell disciples. He was writing his gang alias, Easy E, in that gothic lettering."

The two arrests led to several others before the weekend was over.

"They started telling on each other like mad. There were six of them altogether that had done this stuff at some point in the city," Mardis continued. "One of the parents was crying. It was real emotional. She gave him (her son) a good paddling while he was here at the police station."

Mardis said the parents were supportive of the public embarrassment and community service that Kennon recommended. All of the juveniles and their parents were instructed to be at the council meeting. Mardis said all complied except the parents of one boy.


2006 The Birmingham News 2006 All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 17538

Boston Globe (North West edition), Lexington, Massachusetts, 26 March 2006

Spanking a sore subject in Arlington

Town split over upcoming vote

By Melissa Beecher
Globe Correspondent

ARLINGTON -- Susan Lawrence doesn't spank her children, and she doesn't think you should, either.

Lawrence, an Arlington mother turned advocate, has filed a resolution to encourage parents and other caregivers not to administer corporal punishment to children in Arlington. The resolution is the final article in a crowded warrant for Town Meeting, which begins next month, and has set off a firestorm of discussion between neighbors and on local message boards in recent weeks.

A similar resolution against corporal punishment -- that includes any form of physical pain inflicted as a form of discipline -- was passed in Brookline last year.

"The message should be clear," said Lawrence. "We want to encourage a change in attitudes on a very important issue. No child should be hit."

Massachusetts General Law already bans the use of corporal punishment on students in schools. Restraints are allowed, but can be administered only by a trained individual when children are a threat to themselves or others students.

Lawrence's article takes that ban one step further, asking Town Meeting to encourage all caregivers -- particularly parents -- to stop spanking their children. There are no penalties to enforce the resolution, but Lawrence hopes that it will raise awareness of the issue.

Lawrence said she got 36 residents to sign a petition to include the article -- 26 more than the required 10 to get an article on the warrant. Lawrence said the article is an attempt to "dispel the myth of a 'good spanking' once and for all."

But some aren't going along so easily. On Monday, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to take no action on the article, so the measure will go before voters without the board's stamp of approval.

Selectwoman Annie Lacourt said although she agreed that parents should not spank their children, the article lacked merit.

"Town Meeting is the governance board and needs to do what is relevant in the governance of the town," Lacourt said. "We have limited time and limited resources and need to focus on matters like the budget, zoning . . . this goes beyond the proper purview of local government."

Other social resolutions, however, have crept into the warrant over the years, dealing with topics such as disapproval of the war in Iraq.

Lacourt said most amount to "feel-good resolutions" that do not serve any practical purpose.

"Most people don't want to get inside the four walls of someone else's home. There are already laws against child abuse," said Lacourt. "I don't believe in corporal punishment, I do not spank my kids. I believe the principle of the article is correct, but it has no business at Town Meeting."

Residents like Lyman Judd agreed.

"It should be voted down. It's too bad it was included because this is not the business of Town Meeting in the first place," said Judd. "This is too much Big Brother, or Big Sister as it would be."

Judd, a lifelong resident of Arlington, has been a Town Meeting member since 1972. He said although he doesn't condone child abuse, sometimes parents need to give children a "pat on the fanny" to "get their attention."


Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Corpun file 17548

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Washington State, 30 March 2006


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