HB 202 is grossly late, crucially important


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It’s 2019, and yet there are still 17 school districts in Kentucky that allow for corporal punishment, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. This article also shows that paddling and spanking was up last year to 452 reported times. There’s a bill that has recently been heard but not passed– House Bill 202– and no vote has been scheduled.

Though I’m glad that our lawmakers are finally discussing this important issue, we should all be distressed that it has both taken this long and that they continue to deliberate as if lives aren’t being ruined as they discuss it.

According to the American Psychological Association, spanking and “other forms of physical discipline” can actually damage children in the long run, including “increased aggression, antisocial behavior, physical injury and mental health problems for children.”

According to the Atlantic, “Some 81 percent of Americans believe spanking is appropriate, even though decades of research have shown it to be both ineffective and harmful.”

USA Today also released a study that showed that “children spanked when they were as young as 15 months old displayed negative temperament and were less likely to show positive behaviors in the fifth grade and even into their teenage years.”

Finally, such forms of punishment can result in bad behavior as the person grows into adulthood, according to Medical News Today.

Despite the advice from these authorities on the matter, this outdated form of child-rearing remains in tact. We’ve all heard the response: “I turned out OK,” or “I now suffer from what is known as respect.” I would argue that it instills not respect but fear and we’re not OK, we’re just afraid to be in touch with our feelings.

I can only hope that as, if and when we millennials start families, as we become the most educated generation, we can see the error in the way of thinking that excuses violence against children as a natural part of parenting. It’s not; it’s an excuse for violence that can and does escalate each time it fails to achieve the desire effect: obedience. Children are human beings with thoughts and emotions and should be treated as such. 

We cannot move forward as a country and as a people if we still resort to animalistic forms of punishment in raising our young in which grown adults unleash their strength on children, all in the name of discipline.