Civil Liberties

Spank 'Em If You've Got 'Em


Spanking parents of the world–or at least California, which often mistakes itself for the world–relax. The Great Golden State Spanking Ban is history. From the AP via the Cincy Enquirer:

A Democratic lawmaker has abandoned her heavily ridiculed campaign to make spanking a crime, acknowledging that the idea would get whacked even in California's sometimes whimsical Legislature.

Instead, San Francisco Bay area Assemblywoman Sally Lieber introduced a more narrow bill on Thursday she said would help district attorneys more easily prosecute parents who cross the line from punishment into physical abuse….

Lieber, who has no children, attracted nationwide attention after she pledged to introduce an anti-spanking bill to protect children from violence. Her idea was even the subject of a "Saturday Night Live" parody….

If passed, [the new law] would classify most physical harm to children as unjustified. That would reverse the current principle under which judges and juries are asked to decide whether physical abuse that begins as discipline is justified.

More here.

Read Maia Szalavitz's "The Trouble with Troubled Teen Programs" to get a sense of systemic child abuse in the youth boot-camp industry.