Corporal Punishment Position Paper
Text of New Position Paper on Corporal Punishment
NYRA categorically condemns the use of so-called “corporal punishment” by parents, teachers and others against people under 18. The practice of “corporal punishment,” the extra-judicial use of violence to inflict pain and humiliation against people under 18 with no due process is nothing more than state privileged assault and battery, and when the perpetrator is a parent, domestic violence.
The fact that it is today socially acceptable for parents to hit their children in the United States, does not in any way reduce the gravity of the abuse that “corporal punishment” represents. Rather than accepting and tolerating this current social norm as falsely representing private decisions on the part of parents, NYRA recognizes that “corporal punishment” in fact represents a political policy decision to deny the equal protection of battery and domestic violence laws to people simply because they are young. The result is that many young people live in constant terror of violence from their parents and teachers.
NYRA demands that the U.S. federal and state governments end this discriminatory, ageist terror, by abolishing the so called legal “parental privilege” of “corporal punishment” and regarding all acts of corporal punishment as battery and where appropriate domestic violence.
Before this year, NYRA took a position opposing corporal punishment in schools while taking no position on corporal punishment in the home. This new paper changes our position to one opposing corporal punishment in homes as well as schools.
Voting for the Position Paper
- Usiel Phoenix
- Jeffrey Nadel
- Samantha Godwin
- Nigel Jones
- Katrina Moncure
- Kathleen O’Neal
Voting against the Position Paper
Argument for the change
Youth have a right to be free from violence anywhere, and NYRA should affirm that right. Legislation banning corporal punishment in homes may be a long way off, but we have to lay the groundwork today by advocating a clear position. If NYRA won’t say corporal punishment in the home is wrong, who will say it?
Argument against the change
Taking this position will alienate parents who might otherwise be valuable allies for us. We already have our hands full working to ban corporal punishment in schools. Let’s keep as many allies as we can and achieve what can be achieved today. Individuals in NYRA are free to speak out against corporal punishment in homes or anywhere else; but when an organization takes an official position, it risks losing members who disagree. Therefore, an organization should be selective in taking positions on issues. Taking this position will cost us support while achieving nothing.
What your vote means
A vote to “Approve” will affirm the new position paper and give NYRA an official position opposing corporal punishment in the home as well as in schools. A “Disapprove” vote will return NYRA to its position opposing corporal punishment in schools while taking no official position on such punishment in the home.