Laurie A. Couture's Letter to the Editor of the Boston Herald Laurie A. Couture's Letter to the Editor of the Boston Herald
re: "Time to Spare the Ron," Mike Barnicle, Nov. 16
November 19, 2004

To the Boston Herald,

The level of defensive unprofessionalism of people who defend discriminatory and harmful cultural practices against weaker members of society never ceases to amaze me. Mike Barnicle, in his "Brookline Time to Spare the Ron" retort, writes as someone bucking the confessional booth of reason vs. tradition, trying to soothe himself of guilt by rallying the absolution of fans who are uneducated and contribute to the pockets of stagnancy in our society. Corporal punishment of children has been shown consistently through decades of scientific research in the fields of psychology, psychiatry child development, sociology, education and medicine to be detrimental to children. Child advocates see first hand that the most aggressive or withdrawn children in their care are the ones who have experienced some level of physical assault by parents, legal or illegal. Yet despite the obvious and overwhelming evidence that corporal punishment increases aggression and puts children at risk for a host of other mental health issues, society stops short of its socially conscious agenda at child protection. Writers like Barnicle are part of that social road block that prevents our society from moving in a direction of humanitarianism with an intolerance for violence of all types. Equating no longer tolerating violent acts against children with "opposing Game-Boy, J-Pods, Fruit Loops and lip rings" is ignorant and apathetic to the point of being frightening. Barnicle tries to absolve the guilt of those who hurt children by slanderously suggesting that child advocate Ron Goldman has a "bizarre interest in spanking". I'd like to challenge him as a journalist to look into the "bizarre" preoccupation that adults who spank children have for ferociously guarding their archaic practice. It is almost 2005. I would have hoped we'd be a little bit more enlightened in the area of human rights and social justice by now.

Laurie A. Couture, M.Ed, LMHC
Child and adolescent mental health counselor
Dover, NH

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