From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


11/27/2007 1:29:48 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Massachusetts--Calls Needed to Oppose Anti-Spanking Bill

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

November 27, 2007

Massachusetts--Calls Needed to Oppose Anti-Spanking Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Representative Jay Kaufmann has introduced an act--House Bill 3922--to
prohibit corporal punishment. The bill is scheduled for a hearing
TOMORROW, Wednesday November 28, in the Committee on Children,
Families and Persons with Disabilities. The bill would make it
unlawful for parents to use corporal discipline in the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts. It would also create a presumption that any spanking is
child abuse and neglect.

Representative Kaufmann asserts that his bill is designed to
"eliminate the use of corporal punishment to discipline children,
because of the emotional harm and risks of bodily harm associated with
corporal punishment of children." To Representative Kaufmann, all
spanking is, by definition, child abuse. He apparently believes that
"good parents" never spank their children, that only "bad parents" do,
and therefore that "good parents" do not need to be worried about
House Bill 3922.

House Bill 3922 would amend Chapter 119, section 51B of the General
Laws, which currently deals with abuse and neglect. If this bill
passes, any parent who uses loving and appropriate corporal discipline
would be presumed to be abusive or neglectful. This is already a
problem in Massachusetts because of the Department of Social
Services's policy that treats any report of spanking as presumptively
abusive or neglectful. In one recent case, a DSS worker told a parent
that because her child did not like spanking, the parent was not
acting in the child's best interests. House Bill 3922 would make these
types of determinations even more common than they currently are, and
such determinations can lead to juvenile court proceedings for the
care and protection of children, and even temporary or permanent loss
of child custody.

Please take the following actions to oppose this legislation.


1) CALL TODAY (Preferably before 4:00 p.m.) the members of the Joint
Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
according to the first letter of your last name as indicated in the
alphabetized list below.

2) CALL your representative. (You can find your representative's
office phone and fax numbers, and address by entering your 9-digit ZIP
code in HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at, or by
calling the office in your county that handles voter registration.)

In your own words, give them the following message:

"Please vote no on House Bill 3922 (by Kaufmann). House Bill 3922
would create a presumption that parents who use a small paddle or
similar object when lovingly spanking their child to be guilty of
child abuse or neglect. House Bill 3922 is unnecessary. Children are
already protected from all forms of true child abuse in current law."
(If time permits when you call, you may want to be ready to use one of
the "Opposition Points to Share with Legislators"--see below--in
addition to the suggested "script" above.)

You do not need to identify yourself as a homeschooler. This
legislation will affect all parents in Massachusetts.

Joint Committee on Families, Children, and Persons with Disabilities

A - C
Senator Karen Spilka
State House: (617) 722-1640
District Office: (508) 872-6677

Senator Thomas McGee
State House: (617) 722-1350

D - F
Senator Steven Baddour
State House: (617) 722-1604

Senator Patricia Jehlen
State House: (617) 722-1578

G - H
Senator Pamela Resor
State House: (617) 722-1120

Senator Bruce Tarr
State House: (617) 722-1600

I - M
Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera
State House: (617) 722-2011
District Office: (413) 739-1503

Representative Stephen LeDUC
State House: (617) 722-2230
District Office: (508) 481-2141

Representative Cory Atkins
State House: (617) 722-2013
District Office: (978) 369-5299

N - Q
Representative Robert Nyman
State House: (617) 722-2020

Representative James Eldridge
State House: (617) 722-2060

Representative Mary Rogeness
State House: (617) 722-2100

R - S
Representative Tom Sannicandro
State House: (617) 722-2210

Representative John Fernandes
State House: (617) 722-2030
District Office: (508) 473-3063

Representative Mary Grant
State House: (617) 722-2220
District Office: (978) 927-1504

T - Z
Representative Pam Richardson
State House: (617) 722-2582

Representative John Lepper
State House: (617) 722-2100
District Office: (617) 399-8985


The best credible research has shown that non-abusive spanking, when
used to back up other disciplinary methods, has been effective in
curbing antisocial behavior in children as they grow up. (1) In fact,
there is no credible research that backs up House Bill
3922's assertions that spanking is linked to emotional harm or risk of
bodily harm. (2) Diana Baumrind, Ph.D., of the University of California found that
children who are occasionally spanked score higher on measures of
adjustment than children who have never been spanked. (3)
According to Robert E. Larzelere, Ph.D., of Oklahoma State
University, 10 years after Sweden's ban on spanking was instituted,
child abuse had increased instead of decreasing. (4) House Bill 3922
defies all common sense and history. There is no
state that forbids the use of an object for spanking by parents. This
form of discipline, when reasonably administered, has been accepted by
every generation of Americans, including Massachusetts citizens.
According to a national ABC News opinion poll, over one half of the
persons interviewed believe that a reasonable spanking to the buttocks
is appropriate as a method of child discipline and close to one half
of parents with minor children at home spank their children

1. Larzelere, Robert E. and Kuhn, Brett R.; Comparing Child Outcomes
of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A
Meta-Analysis; Clinical Child and Family Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, March
2005; p. 26.

2. Larzelere, Robert E. and Kuhn, Brett R.; Comparing Child Outcomes
of Physical Punishment and Alternative Disciplinary Tactics: A
Meta-Analysis; Clinical Child and Family Review, Vol. 8, No. 1, March
2005; p. 2.

3. Baumrind, Diana; Respondent's Affidavit Brief; Canadian Foundation
For Children, Youth and the Law vs. The Attorney General In Right of
Canada; Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court; May 3, 1999, para.
85, 87.

4. Larzelere, Robert E.; Sweden's smacking ban: more harm than good;
Family First and The Christian Institute; England; 2004; p. 4.

5. Poll: Most Approve of Spanking Kids; March 26, 2007.


Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Staff Attorney

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