Longwood Avenue resident Ron Goldman created a stir in 2004 with the introduction of an anti-corporal punishment resolution at Town Meeting.
The resolution said the use of corporal punishment, defined as "intentional infliction of physical pain for the purpose of punishment" on children, is wrong; that it is advised against by several organizations and experts; and that it can cause negative effects on children, such as anger, low self-esteem or anxiety.
It was first proposed at the June 2004 Town Meeting, but was postponed and eventually voted down by a slim margin at the November 2004 Town Meeting.
Goldman, a consulting engineer with a Ph.D. in psychology, does not have any children himself, but has said at the November Town Meeting that he was pushing for the resolution "because I care for children."
He also encouraged Town Meeting members at both sessions to "help break the chain of pain" by voting for the resolution.
Goldman's pursuit drew both support and criticism. Some felt it was a viable resolution that should be applied in Brookline, while others felt it was not the town's job to make such rules.
He also garnered a flurry of media attention; at least one local news channel and several local and national print sources covered the story.
Town Meeting was eventually voted the resolution down by a two-vote margin , 73-75, with 26 people abstaining.
Goldman first brought the nonbinding resolution forward at the June Town Meeting, where it was postponed indefinitely, but then updated the resolution with more backing for his stance. The eight-page resolution, Goldman said, was endorsed by the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Massachusetts Citizens for Children, the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and cited 37 sources that offer alternatives to corporal punishment.
After November's meeting, Goldman said he was not sure whether or not he would bring forward a similar resolution again or not.
- Monica Deady
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