Thursday, 10 November 2011

Should Parents Hit Children?



A graphic video published on You Tube has sparked off a national debate in the USA, about parental corporal punishment.

The video shows (then) 16 year old Hillary being whipped with a belt by her father, Judge William Adams. Her mother also participates in the beating. The punishment was for using the internet to download games and music.

Warning: This video contains violence and is not appropriate for family viewing.
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Many countries around the world have outlawed corporal punishment in schools; in 1979, Sweden became the first country to ban physical punishment of children, including by their parents.

Since then, 30 more countries have passed bans on corporal punishment at home, and even more have banned it in schools, according to the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children.

In the USA, while there are laws against child abuse, it is legal in all 50 states for parents to hit their children, and for schools in 19 states to physically punish kids. About 80% of American parents said they've hit their young children, and, according to researchers, about 100,000 kids are paddled in U.S. schools every year.

Here in Israel, according to a majority Supreme Court Ruling in 2000, corporal punishment is illegal both in schools and homes. A full translation of that ruling is available here.  

Corporal punishment is still carried out by many parents in Israel; furthermore, some independent schools still illegally administer physical punishments on the pupils.

Several children have been killed by parents/guardians in Israel, including in 2008 the tragedy of four year old Rose Pizem, who was murdered and then her body dumped in the Yarkon River in a suitcase.

There are persistent reports that violent beatings of children by school staff is still systemic, particularly in some Chasidic "chedarim", which are not supervised by the Ministry of Education, and where many parents are unwilling to protect their children by complaining to the authorities, out of fear of reprisals from within their own communities.

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