Tuesday, June 03, 2008

"Swats" Are Not Abuse: SCOMN

The Minnesota Supremes have a good grip on reality.

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Friday that a father who spanked his 12-year-old son 36 times with a maple paddle did not commit physical abuse.

The unanimous ruling finalized the reversal of a lower court's decision, which did deem the punishment administered by Shawn Fraser of Bloomington, Minn., abusive.

..."We are unwilling to establish a bright-line rule that the infliction of any pain constitutes either physical injury or physical abuse, because to do so would effectively prohibit all corporal punishment of children by their parents," Justice Alan Page wrote for the court.

The law allows "reasonable discipline," the ruling said, and "it is clear to us that the Legislature did not intend to ban corporal punishment."

Justice Alan Page ought to know about physical abuse: he handed out plenty of it while playing for the Vikings.


capper said...

In WI, physical discipline is not against the law. Excessive physical discipline is. To me, swatting 36 times with a maple paddle would be excessive.

It also says something about the man's parenting skills that he would feel he had to resort to that in the first place.

Just saying.

Anonymous said...

According to reports, there were no marks or signs of injury on the boy.

This invites some of its own commentary, but with capper around, I think I'll just stick to there was no evidence the child was being beaten.

Amy said...

It also says something about the man's parenting skills that he would feel he had to resort to that in the first place.

Capper - do you have kids? There comes a point when all the touchy-feely, talkity-talk time out discipline doesn't work.

If there was no evidence of lasting trauma or that this child was abused.

John Foust said...

I don't know why people rely on physical abuse to discipline their kids. Mental abuse is just as powerful and arguably longer-lasting.

Amy, I think you weren't trying hard enough. There's no reason to hit your kids. Who Would Jesus Beat?

Dave said...

Amy's a tad more hard-edged than I am John. Me, I think 36 licks with a maple paddle is taking it too far, and if I saw someone doing that to their kid, I'd probably wrest the paddle away and resist using it on the offender's head. But there are times when a swat on the seat of the pants is best, and some would like to illegalize even that.

capper said...


I said physical discipline is legal. I don't have a problem with a spanking.

I do have a problem with excessive spanking.

And just because it didn't leave a mark doesn't make it OK. That is an absurd rationalization on your part.