The article http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/1009roberts09.html about the so-called "Boot Camp" for troubled kids punishing children so severely that a 14-year-old died raises a question of who all was negligent here. Yes, one staff member has pleaded guilty to child negligence and another is charged with second degree murder, but there is another whole group of individuals who need to be hanging their collective head in shame -- the Governor and the Arizona Legislature!
Why does Arizona allow a camp to even exist that advertises it allows corporal punishment? Or one that requires kids to be all dressed in black, even knit hats, while made to sit in desert sun for hours as punishment, while malnourished and maybe even denied water? Are there no sane regulations and inspections? I imagine the state probably has better protective laws for animals than it does children.
Arizona is one of a diminishing number of states that has failed to ban corporal punishment in even its public schools. Yes, adults in Arizona are allowed to pick up boards and repeatedly strike children, if those adults are teachers, coaches and administrators and the kids are students. Yikes! School corporal punishment has been outlawed in every country in Europe, Central and South America, Canada, Japan, China and 28 states. But it is legal, and used, in Arizona.
The legislature and the Governor need to give children at least the same protection as animals. Get a law enacted now, one that bans school corporal punishment and which sets up regulation and inspection of camps and child residential facilities of any kind.
Robert E. Fathman, Ph.D.
National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools
See related: Boot Camp for Kids - Torturing Teenagers for Fun and Profit
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