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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2005   :  US Domestic May 2005

-- THE ARCHIVE --


UNITED STATES

Domestic CP - May 2005



Corpun file 15875

masthead
St Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri, 1 May 2005

Metro East

Dropped battery charge is "a nightmare", educator says

By Paul Hampel
Of the Post-Dispatch

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 school.
Wayne Crosslin/P-D

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 has returned to his job as assistant principal at Edwardsville alternative high school. And he says he enjoys the support of the school's staff and his family, especially his sons.

But life remains "a nightmare" in the wake of charges that "made it sound like I abused kids," Jackson, 58, of Glen Carbon, said in an interview last week.

"It's going to take a long time to get over this. I'm a responsible father. I love my kids. I want to make sure my kids don't get on the wrong path. That's all I was doing."

Jackson does not deny using corporal punishment on his adopted sons, 11 and 15.

The boys had gotten out of line. Jackson said he responded with restrained swats on their behinds.

"I gave the boys a couple of whacks. They jumped around and I let up. It was just a spanking."

That's a parent's prerogative, not the business of police, he says.

"That this thing became a police matter is just crazy. The craziest thing ever," he said.

The issue of spanking is a gray area under Illinois law, which forbids "excessive corporal punishment." State's attorneys have wide leeway, however, in determining what constitutes excessive.

Missouri's approach to the matter is somewhat clearer, as defined under a statute called "Defense of Justification." The law allows physical force by a parent or guardian within reasonable limits. Just as in Illinois, however, it is up to individual prosecutors to determine what constitutes necessary force and that which creates "a substantial risk" of causing death, injury or extreme emotional distress.

Jackson said he quit his banking job years ago in favor of going into education. He wanted to help troubled youths, he said.

Glen Carbon police arrested Jackson at his home on March 14, two days after the incident. Police Chief David Bradford said his department got a tip about the incident, but would not say who the informer was or whether the informer had witnessed the spankings.

Bradford said his department is required to take all complaints at face value. He said that the injuries did not require medical treatment, but were serious enough to merit an arrest.

"We did an investigation. We presented the results to the state's attorney for review. They issued warrants for his (Jackson's) arrest," Bradford said.

The Madison County state's attorney charged Jackson with two misdemeanor counts of domestic battery.

Edwardsville School District officials suspended him with pay on March 15, pending an investigation.

Madison County prosecutors decided to drop the charges on April 13. A spokeswoman said prosecutors concluded that the better remedy was to require that Jackson and his boys attend counseling, supervised by juvenile authorities.

Jackson was reinstated and returned to his job at the high school, where he has worked for nine years. Eighty percent of his job is spent counseling the 35 or so students attending the alternative school, he said.

Jackson, a part-time pastor with the Mount Joy Missionary Baptist Church in Edwardsville, said he was thankful for the support of the school staff.

"They've been great. They have stood behind me," he said.

He said his entire family has suffered in the wake of the spankings.

"This was a hardship all around. It was a hardship on my boys. They got twisted and used in this whole ordeal," he said.

Edwardsville School District superintendent Ed Hightower said the district had reached the same conclusion about the incident as Jackson had.

"Police never should have been involved in this," Hightower said.

"We are extremely pleased that these charges are dropped. We are very pleased to have Steve Jackson back at work again."




Corpun file 15717

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."



Charles Enloe, 42, of Plymouth was arrested after disciplining his son with a belt. (Herald photo by Renee Dekona)

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



blob Follow-up: 12 May 2005 - DSS clears father of abuse

Corpun file 15722

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
The Patriot Ledger

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




Corpun file 15874

logo
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




Corpun file 16711

masthead
Boston Globe, Massachusetts, 12 May 2005

DSS clears father of abuse

Assault charge still pending

By Stephanie Neil
Globe Correspondent

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.

Charles S. Enloe, 42, was arrested on April 27 at the Plymouth police station after admitting he used a belt to lightly strike his son for forgetting his homework. That prompted investigations by both DSS and police.

"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.

Police last week said they are confident they did the right thing in charging Enloe. "I know it is a difficult topic," said Plymouth police Captain Michael Botieri. The department has some leeway on corporal punishment if it involves an open hand and there are no injuries, he said, but once an instrument - a stick, a club, a belt - is introduced, the police are required to react to the situation.

"The action we took was appropriate," said Botieri.

This week's DSS finding, he said Tuesday, doesn't change his department's position. "What they do is separate from what we do . . . they are not determining whether a crime was committed. They are just determining if there are unsafe conditions, and then they do something for the child," said Botieri. "We never said it was an unsafe place, we just said a crime occurred, and we are mandated to do what we did."

The case came to the attention of authorities when Enloe's former wife, Diana Dematteo, filed an emergency order against him on behalf of their son, saying she was afraid of his aggressive behavior, according to the incident report on file with the court.

The 12-year-old boy told police he forgot to bring his homework home and his father began yelling at him, and then struck him three times on the buttocks, according to the report. Having forgotten his homework again, he feared a second lashing, the report stated.

Based on that report, Enloe was called to the station. He went voluntarily but never imagined he'd be arrested and spend the next two hours in jail, Enloe said.

"I had no idea whatsoever that spanking my son with a belt was going to be a felony charge," he said.

Following the arrest, the boy was removed from Enloe's house overnight and evaluated by a pediatrician. He has since been returned to Enloe's custody as the father awaits next month's hearing. Enloe said his son, who was failing school before he came to live with him in March, is improving academically.

The laws in Massachusetts are well defined when it comes to prohibiting corporal punishment in public schools. But the rules on domestic spanking are ambiguous, leaving room for interpretation that could have criminal consequences for unsuspecting parents. Physical abuse, according to the Department of Social Services, is a nonaccidental act against a child under 18 that causes or creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury.

The line between tough love and abuse can be less than clear, authorities said.

"Spanking or humiliation or pain used to reach the point of trauma does have lasting effects on kids," said Terry Alan Hayes, a child psychologist in Marshfield. "Yes, parents who use spanking will notice changes, but the long-term emotional reactions of fear, anger, and opposition are much more serious."

It will be up to the courts to decide what happens next. A judge could dismiss the case. Being found guilty of assaulting a juvenile with a dangerous weapon holds a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison, or up to 2 years in a house of correction, and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Enloe, who says he was "raised by the belt" and believes it is a parent's right to spank a child, is still reeling over his arrest.

"I didn't abuse the child, I didn't beat the child," he says. "I gave him a spanking because he forgot his homework."




Corpun file 15796

masthead
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.




Corpun file 15863

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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