The page ruling was issued as the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the assault conviction of a father for publicly spanking his nearly 3-year-old daughter in Brockton in At the same time, the court sought to strike a balance between parental rights and protecting children against abuse.
The ruling comes at a time of growing debate about spanking, an issue that captured national attention last year when football star Adrian Peterson was charged with felony child abuse for spqnking his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch. Peterson later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor.
Legal distinctions between spanking and abuse can be difficult to draw, and approaches vary by state. The SJC was ruling on a case involving a commotion at a Brockton bus terminal, where Jean Dorvil was walking with his daughter and her mother.
The officer said he saw the mother pick up the child to shield her, and that the child was crying and looked frightened. When the officers approached, Dorvil said he was disciplining his child.
He denied kicking the child, saying he was just playing around. A second officer also described the kick as slow and hesitant, according to the court ruling.
Dorvil was charged with assault and battery. He denied ever telling her to shut up.
The SJC rejected that line of argument. Surveys show that spanking is widespread nationally and enjoys broad support.
A report from Child Trends, a research center in Maryland, found that about 94 percent of parents of children ages 3 to 4 report having spanked their children in the previous year. But research shows spankihg spanking is linked to a range of negative outcomes for children, including antisocial behavior and substance abuse. Women spanking men in Brockton Schworm can be reached at schworm globe.
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View Comments. The Supreme Judicial Court discussed physical discipline of children.
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