November 18, 1999
Letter to the Editor, Boston Herald
By Laurie Couture
I am mortified at the court's decision stating that Reverend Cobble has a right to hit his son. Why is it that parents so strongly guard their ability to hit their children? Is this because to refrain from doing so would cause parents to actually make the efforts towards using postive, democratic, creative disciplinary methods that involve respecting and working towards a relationship with their children? It frightens me that in 1999, on the verge of the 21st century, we still tolerate violence towards children. There was once a time when society just as passionatly guarded the legal right to hit an errant wife. When we saw that practice as abhorant and violent, and abolished it, we didn't offer children the same legal protection. In all of our 50 states it is illegal to hit a spouse, an employee, a military trainee, a psychiatric patient, an elderly nursing home patient, a prisoner and any other fellow adult citizen. To do so is called assault and battery. To commit the same act of violence against a child is called "discipline". We as a society need to ask ourselves why we do not feel that children should be afforded the same human rights protections as spouses and other adult citizens in our society. How can we possibly teach children to refrain from engaging in violence if we are practicing a double standard and committing aggressive acts against them? Sweden in 1979, followed by several other countries, banned corporal punishment with very low violent crime rates resulting. I am ashamned that the United States has not been innovative enough to follow the lead and end such a degrading practice.
Laurie A. Couture