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Religious Tolerance logo

Corporal punishment of children: Spanking

Media reports: 2001 to 2006 incl.

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Media reports about spanking:

bullet2002-MAR-27: Scotland: Government to restrict spanking: The Government of Scotland announced plans to outlaw the spanking of children under the age of three. Their proposed legislation would also outlaw the use of an instrument,  such as a shoe or belt, to hit a child of any age. 1
bullet2002-OCT-16: GA: "House of Prayer" leaders on trial for child abuse: According to the Apologetics Index, the House of Prayer's teachings deviate from orthodox Christian theology: they allegedly justify physical, mental and spiritual abuse, and preach racism. Girls as young as 14 are transported to Alabama to marry. In 2001-MAR, the state took 41 children into protective custody after allegations surfaced that the pastor was overseeing whippings of the children. Welts and bruises were found on two boys. Charges were filed against Pastor Arthur Allen and ten church members. The parents of the 41 children left their children in foster care rather than accept a no-abuse agreement. 2,3 Allen and four members of his church are on trial for cruelty to children. All refused court-appointed lawyers. The jury has reported that they are near a verdict. 4

According to UPI: On OCT-17, Pastor Arthur Allen and four members of his church were convicted of felony charges of child abuse and aggravated assault for disciplining two young boys by "cruelly whipping them in church." Allen was given an $8,000 fine, 90 days in jail and ten years of probation. One of the passages that Allen cited was Proverbs 23:13, which says: "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." Beating the two children with a rod appears to be exactly why Allen was given the sentences.
bullet2002-AUG-18: WI: Mother jailed for spanking: The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that "Kay M. Henson, 31, a mother of six from Sharon, Wis., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of 'simple battery...'" Details are a little obscure: the son told school officials that he had been spanked 30 times; the mother said 15 times with her hand; a photo allegedly shows "the buttocks almost completely covered with bruises and redness...A judge said Wednesday that a picture of the bruised buttocks of a 10-year-old boy shows 'extensive reddening,' likely from 'multiple or very hard strikes'." 5
bullet2002-NOV-07: Canada: Commune leader found guilty of abusing children: Lucille Poulin, the leader and prophet of a religious commune in Prince Edward Island and a former nun was given an eight month jail sentence and three years probation for abusing children under her care. She is not to care for or live with children under the age of 12 during her period of probation. Ms. Poulin believes that children needed to have the Devil beaten out of them in order to save them from eternal torture in Hell. Her Fundamentalist Christian group started in 1984 near Westlock, AB. They moved to Prince Edward Island in 1995 after social workers in Alberta obtained a supervision order to monitor the commune's children. Life for children in the commune was filled with violence. They would be beaten for such minor infractions as "laughing, sneaking a cookie, even falling asleep." Poulin was responsible for most of the beatings. However, she had one of the men whip the children if she felt that she was not strong enough to administer sufficiently powerful blows. After sentencing, she commented: "I want to say at this point that the blood of those children are not on my hands anymore. I thank God that I have been faithful to the mandate God gave me. I chose to abide in His word. And He said if you continue in my word, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. He is my beloved, and I am in love with Him, and I want to obey God rather than man.... Everyone will answer for what they do and say. I go free with the joy of the Lord in my heart." The judge concluded that requiring her to go to counseling would be unproductive. Poulin's case received national newspaper coverage in Canada during her trial. 6

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bullet2003-FEB-13 (approx): WY: Wyoming Senate retains corporal punishment: House Bill 68 which would have ended corporal punishment in Wyoming public schools was narrowly defeated in the Senate. It had been approved by the House with a vote of 48 to 10, but was given a tie vote of 15 to 15 in the Senate.
bulletSenator Larry Caller (D-Rock Springs) said there were eight cases of corporal punishment reported in Wyoming schools last year; he suspects that many more were not reported.
bulletSenator Cale Case (R-Lander) said: ''I don't think there is ever a reason to inflict pain on another person, especially a child.''
bulletSen. Keith Goodenough, (D-Casper), was ordered by the Majority Floor Leader to apologize for remarks in the Senate. He had described the bill as allowing teachers to "beat" their students. Apparently, Senators can refer to inflicting pain, or delivering corporal punishment, but are not allowed to mention beating students.

Corporal punishment of students is apparently a non-issue in Wyoming, because few school districts still permit it. 7

bullet2003-APR-01: DE: Delaware poised to ban spanking of students in public schools: By 2003-APR-1, a bill to ban paddling and other forms of physical punishment of students in public schools passed by a healthy margin in the Senate (14 to 7) and House (22 to 16). Governor Ruth Ann Minner is expected to sign the bill into law. 8
bullet2003-MAR: Iceland: Government bans all violence against children: The government updated its Children's Act. Article 28 states: "It is the parents obligation to protect their child against any physical or mental violence and other degrading or humiliating behaviour." This is interpreted by government and by the Ombudsman for Children as explicitly prohibiting corporal punishment by parents, and is supported by provisions in the 2002 Child Protection Act which had already placed an obligation on parents "to treat their children with care and consideration," and "to safeguard their welfare at all times." The new law will enter into effect on 2003-NOV-1. 9
bullet2004-JAN-30: Canada: Corporal punishment in Canada: The Supreme Court of Canada declared constitutional that provision of the Criminal Code of Canada that allows parents to use "reasonable force" in disciplining their children. The vote was 6 to 3 in favor. This law continues in place across the entire country.
bullet2005-APR-07: TX: Bill introduced to abolish corporal punishment in Texas schools: Representative Alma Allen has introduced bill HB 2413 into to the Texas House. It ban paddling of children in school. If passed, this would increase to 29 the number of states in the U.S. which have banned this practice. The bill did not progress.
bullet2005-NOV-18: PA: Corporal punishment in public schools: The Attorney General of Pennsylvania has approved the newly revised Chapter 12 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. It includes a new section which prohibits corporal punishment in public schools. When the change is published in the Pennsylvania Register, this state will become the 29th state in the U.S. to ban corporal punishment in public schools. This should happen before the end of November.
bullet2006-SEP-20: USA: Bill introduced in congress to ban devices sold to whip children: Representative Ed Markey (-MA) introduced a bill to the House which would ban certain devices sold or marketed for the purpose of hitting or whipping children. It would ban "devices for inflicting physical pain, including, whips, paddles, and electroshock devices that are manufactured for sale, offered for sale, distributed in commerce, imported into the United States, or otherwise marketed for use on children. 10
bullet2006-OCT-19: Greece: Parliament outlaws corporal punishment in the home: The Greek Parliament passed Law 3500/2006 "Combating of Intra-family Violence." Article 4 of the new law states:

"Physical violence against children as a disciplinary measure in the context of their upbringing brings the consequences of Article 1532 of the Civil Code."

That article has various penalties for the abuse of parental authority. The most serious is the removal of parental authority by the courts. 11

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Plan to Outlaw Spanking," The Toronto Star, 2002-MAR-28.
  2. "Inside the House of Prayer," Apologetics Index, at: http://www.gospelcom.net/
  3. "House of Prayer (Atlanta)," Apologetics Index, at: http://www.gospelcom.net/
  4. "House of Prayer jury says it's 'fairly close'," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2002-OCT-16, at:  http://www.accessatlanta.com/
  5. Vin Suprynowicz, "Sitting in jail for spanking," Las Vegas Review-Journal, at: http://www.reviewjournal.com/
  6. David Stonehouse, "Former Alberta sect leader jailed for beating children; Lucille Poulin, 78, says she carried out God's will in P.E.I.," Edmonton Journal, at: http://www.canada.com/
  7. Sarah Cooke, "Senate narrowly defeats corporal punishment repeal," Associated Press, 2003-FEB-13 (approx).
  8. "Breaking News: Delaware becomes 28th state to ban school paddling," Press release from the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools and the Center for Effective Discipline," 2003-APR-1 at: http://nospank.net/
  9. Peter Newell, "Iceland joins states offering children legal protection from all corporal punishment." EPOCH Worldwide. Online at: http://nospank.net/
  10. "To ban certain devices sold or marketed for the purpose of hitting or whipping children," at: http://nospank.net/
  11. "Greece outlaws corporal punishment in the home," Project NoSpank, 2006-NOV, at: http://nospank.net/greece.htm
  12. "California: No Spanking Bill," FOX40 KTXL, 2007-JAN-11. Online at: http://www.nospank.net/

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Copyright © 2002 to 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2007-MAY-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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