News: 2011

Dec 16/11 Murder charge dropped against Ont daycare operator
Toronto Star – Charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault are dropped against a Mississauga daycare operator, April Luckese, 35, arrested after toddler Duy-An Nguyen was fatally injured at her home daycare in Jan/11. Instead, Luckese, will be charged with criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life. Her lawyer says she will plead not guilty. See our reports of the case on Jan 9/11 and Nov 7/11.

Dec 12/11 Spank No More
Slate, Darshak Sanghavi – It’s worth reviewing how mainstream Americans discipline children. The most recent national data from the National Institutes of Mental Health, obtained by a Gallup telephone poll, was encouraging in some respects. Still, many also hit children regularly. According to well-designed surveys, 70 percent of family physicians and 60 percent of pediatricians think “striking of the child’s buttocks or hand with an open hand … leaving no mark except transient redness” is fine. Theories abound (as to why fewer US parents are spanking). Several experts with whom I spoke pointed to tougher laws on child abuse (that is, fear of prosecution), greater use of no-spanking day-care centers and nannies by two-profession couples, or beliefs that spanking causes long-term psychological harm.

That knowledge didn’t come from their health-care providers. As with many pediatrics residencies, mine included nothing on the practical aspects of parenting. And studies show that pediatricians spend only a few seconds during checkups talking about how to discipline a child.

Dec 2/11 Muslim leaders denounce domestic violence
Toronto Star – The Shafia trial results in a loud and clear message from 60 Muslim organizations from across Canada that the Qur’an does not sanction honour killings. It’s the first time since the 2005 London bombings that this many community leaders and organizations have come together to tackle the problem of domestic violence.

Nov 17/11 History of declining violence – incl corporal punishment of children
Montreal Mirror – In an exhaustive, 800-page, meticulously researched tome, Harvard prof and Montreal native, Steven Pinker, persuasively argues that we live in one of the most peaceful times in history. His latest book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, uses a huge amount of empirical data to point out that tribal warfare of centuries past was 9 times as deadly as 20th-century genocide, medieval Europe’s homicide rate was more than 30 times what we face today and that the very fact that the rights of animals are discussed and debated represents a significant step forward.

In particular, he says the rights movements for racial and ethnic minorities, women, gays and children have had a profound impact on our evolution as a species. He makes a cogent argument that as humans have learned to empathize, things that were once simply seen as facts of human life—torture, slavery, murder, rape, corporal punishment of children—have all been deemed unacceptable behaviour, and have thus been reduced.

Nov 17/11 Trial date set for Alta daycare operator in death of 19-month-old
CJCY-FM Clear Sky Radio – Three weeks have been set aside in Oct/12 for the manslaughter trial of Erin Jackman, a licenced Medicine Hat day home operator, in the death of a 19-month-old child. The child died from head trauma that police allege happened during an incident at the home of the accused. See our July 26/10 news item for previous information on this death.

Nov 7/11 Ont daycare owner awaits trial in death of 14-month-old
MississaugaNews – A Mississauga daycare owner, April Luckese, 35, is on bail awaiting trial for second-degree murder in the death of a 14-month-old Duy-An Nguyen. Stringent conditions amounting to house arrest have been placed on the accused. See our Jan 9/11 news item for previous information on this death.

Nov 6/11 Tennessee preacher’s book cited in beating deaths of US children
New York Times – US authorities say 3 children are dead, thanks in part to the teachings of an evangelical Christian couple in their sixties. Their book, To Train Up a Child, was self-published in 1994. Their teachings on child discipline advocate systematic use of “the rod” to teach toddlers to submit to authority. It provides instructions on using a switch on a baby to discourage ‘misbehavior’ and describes how to use implements to hit children on the arms, legs or back. One of the deceased children, an 11-year-old girl, had been beaten with a 15-inch plastic tube on the day she died — the very instrument the Pearls recommend for “spankings”. In all 3 deaths, police found evidence that the parents owned the book or received the ministry’s training resources online.

The controversy is reinvigorating a long-running debate among Christians about how to interpret what the Bible says about corporal punishment and is raising the discussion in churches in the US and Canada. Samuel Martin, a self-described religious activist and researcher based in Jerusalem, has joined a chorus of voices trying to pull the book out of circulation. Saying the Pearls are the most visible people right now on this issue, he added that they’re just the tip of the iceberg, and doesn’t doubt Pearl’s assertion that more than three million people follow his lead and spank their children in the name of God.

Nov 3/11 Teen videotapes father, a judge, beating her “into submission”
CTV News Montreal – The daughter of an Arkansas County Court judge releases a video she secretly recorded of him violently whipping her 7 years ago at age16 to beat her “into submission”. She had illegally downloaded software and said she secretly turned on her camera because “she knew something was going to happen.” She says the beatings happened regularly and that she uploaded the video to YouTube because her father “just needs help… I just pulled the covers off my own father’s misbehaviour after so many people thought he was such a good person“.

Her father, William Adams, admitted being in the video, saying “In my mind, I haven’t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing”. Adams, Arkansas’s County’s top judge, was elected in 2001 and has dealt with more than 300 family law cases this year, including 50 that involved whether parents were fit to raise their children. The 8-minute video has been viewed more than two million times since then. Police said they likely would have charged father but the beating is too long ago for charges to be laid now.

Nov 1/11 CCRC releases report to UN Committee on Rights of the Child
The Canadian Coalition on the Rights of Children releases its report, “Right in Principle, Right in Practice” to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The purpose of the report is to assess Canada’s progress in implementing the Convention, which will be considered by the UN cmte in 2012 – likely in Sept. Among other issues, the report calls for a national strategy to reduce violence against children and removal of the defence for using force as discipline. “Realizing the rights of all children and supporting them to develop their full potential is not only the right thing to do and a legal obligation, it is also a good economic and social investment for all Canadians,” says UNICEF Canada’s Chief Advocacy Advisor, Marvin Bernstein.

Oct 29/11 California police investigate abuse at youth boot camp
New York Daily News – Police will investigate whether a crime occurred at a youth boot camp after videos surfaced showing instructors in military-style fatigues shouting at a boy wearing a heavy auto tire around his neck. At one point, the boy falls down crying but is ordered to stand again. In the other, several girls and boys are repeatedly ordered to drink water from colored plastic bottles. Several youngsters vomit. “The short clips that I reviewed appeared to be more of a situation of intimidation and humiliation appearing to be employed under the guise of physical activity and discipline,” said a city counselor.

Oct 26/11 BC babysitter charged in death of 19-month-old
Globe and Mail – The adult babysitter, Tammy Bouvette, had often babysat the child, 19-month-old Iyanna, for her working parents. An autopsy confirmed that Iyanna drowned in Bouvette’s home in May. RCMP said the length of time between the death and the charge reflects an exhaustive review of the case before laying the charge of second-degree murder. Bouvette has 4 children of her own; all under the age of 10, and childcare authorities have restricted her access to them.

Oct 25/11 Quebec woman charged in death of adopted daughter, 7
Toronto Star – Catherine Dufresne, Chelsea, Quebec, appears in count on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of her 7-year-old adopted daughter, Sophie Fitzpatrick. Sophie, who was adopted from China several years ago, was in Grade 2 and spoke excellent French, according to neighbours. The child was found dead in the family home. Police would not say what her injuries were, but initially said that whatever occurred at the home involved three people, all from the same family. But the father has since met with investigators and has been cleared of any involvement. The woman’s lawyer has requested a psychiatric evaluation.

Oct 21/11 Murder trial begins in death of 3 teenage girls and their ‘aunt’
Toronto Star – The trial of the father, mother and 18-year-old brother for first-degree murder of the couple’s 3 daughters and the father’s first wife, Rona, begins in Kingston and is expected to last up to 10 weeks. The bodies of the daughters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17 and Geeti, 13, and Rona, 53, who lived with the family, were found in a car submerged near the Kingston Mills locks. The Crown alleges the car was pushed into the water by a car in a plan to kill the daughters and the ‘aunt’ in a way that would look like an accident during a family vacation.

The family is originally from Afghanistan but immigrated to Montreal in 2007. The father, Mohammad Shafia, a successful businessman, his second wife, Tooba, and their son, Hamid, have all pled not guilty. The essence of the Crown’s case is that the parents and brother murdered the girls because of outrage over the girl’s westernized behaviour and belief that they had ‘betrayed’ their Islamic religion. The girls had complained to police, teachers and child welfare authorities of abuse by their father and brother, but then denied this in the presence of the father, and child welfare closed the file.

Oct 20/11 Welsh Assembly to debate ban on ‘smacking’ children – The National Assembly of Wales urges the government to bring forward legislation to remove the “reasonable punishment” defence to hitting children, so that Welsh children have the same protection as adults under the law on assault. This is an important breakthrough for the campaign across the UK. Labour Members tabled the motion with support by the leader of the Wales Liberal Democrats. The government has supported law reform to outlaw smacking in Wales since 2004, but there has been some uncertainty as to whether it had the authority to remove the defence; since Wales, unlike Scotland, shares its criminal law with England. However, the govt now believes this change can be made but cautioned that it will take time to finalize this criminal law reform.

Oct/11 Togo bans all corporal punishment of children
Global Initiative Newsletter – Explicit prohibition of corporal punishment is included in articles 357 and 376 of Togo’s Children’s Code (2007) and the govt has now officially confirmed that these provisions prohibit all corporal punishment, without exception. This brings the number of African states fully prohibiting corporal punishment of children to 4 and the total number worldwide to 31.

Oct 3/11 Toronto 3-year-old dies ‘under mysterious circumstances’
The Link – Toronto’s Peel Regional police identify a 3-year-old Indo-Canadian girl from Mississauga who died under suspicious circumstances last week. Niyati Jha died at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children on Sept. 21. The homicide squad and the special victims unit are investigating. “Investigators are awaiting the results of additional forensic and medical evidence. We remain focused on determining, based on the evidence, what caused the death of this young girl,” Insp. George Koekkoek said Tuesday. Jha was brought to a medical clinic on Sept. 20. The little girl was then transported to SickKids in critical condition and placed on life support. She died Wednesday, police said. No charges have been laid.

Sept 23/11 How spanking affects children – in their own words
This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You: In Words and Pictures, Children Share How Spanking Hurts and What To Do Instead. This new book by US psychologists Nadine Block and Madeleine Gomez is written and illustrated by those most affected by spanking — children. Their words and drawings show that spanking doesn’t result in the behaviors parents and teachers desire. Instead, it sows seeds of pain, despair, anger, humiliation, confusion, anger — and the continuation of a cycle of violence. Block founded the Center for Effective Discipline in l987, has worked as a teacher, school psychologist, and mental health consultant and was former co-chair of End Physical Punishment of Children (EPOCH-USA). Gomez is a licensed clinical psychologist, researcher and assistant professor at Northwestern University and a lifelong human rights advocate. Both are parents and grandparents.

Sept 23/11 Bill to end corporal punishment in US schools introduced
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, New York Democrat, introduces a bill to ban corporal punishment in American schools. She said: “Bullying is enough of a problem among students; the teachers shouldn’t be doing it, too. There’s nothing positive or productive about corporal punishment.” In 2006-2007, the latest year for which data was collated, shows that more than 220, 000 children were subjected to corporal punishment in US schools. Seven of the 19 states that authorize corporal punishment in schools are in the top 10 with respect to murder rankings per capita. States that permit schools to inflict corporal punishment on students are also among the 34 that impose the death penalty.

Sept 21/11 Letters in Toronto Star re ‘Corporal Punishment and the law’
Toronto Star – Letters re the New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision noted below are published in the Toronto Star. See Articles/Letters 1990 – 2011.

Sept 13/11 New trial ordered in split decision on New Brunswick spanking case – In a 2-1 decision, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal orders a new trial for a father convicted of assault for spanking his 6-year-old son in 2009. Apparently, the boy was yelling at passing cars, unbuckling his seatbelt and throwing things. After repeated warnings, the father said he spanked the child 3 times. Two witnesses who watched the spanking, said they could hear the child yelling, and that he was hit from 10 to 18 times. The father denied this and claimed he was slapping himself on the leg as a demonstration of what would happen to the child. The trial judge found this “ludicrous” and said “no spanking should go on and on to the point that strangers pick up the phone and call the police”.

The appeal court said the judge was applying her own subjective views of what’s reasonable under the circumstances. The dissenting judge held that the reference to the police call was just another circumstance to consider on the issue of reasonableness. The decision, reported in, quoted lawyer Paul Schabas as saying the case could be precedent setting because the Supreme Court has held that anything beyond a “trifling and transitory” hit is not covered by S. 43.

Aug 30/11 Toronto police handcuff boy with Asperger’s syndrome
Toronto Sun – Toronto police defend their treatment of a 9-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome after they were called to a daycare centre by staff who had locked the boy in a classroom after he had barricaded himself with tables and chairs and thrown paint over the room. The boy blamed his tantrum on being bullied during the lunch hour. Children with autistic spectrum disorder can often have outbursts when they become frustrated, said Dr. Glenn Rampton, the CEO of Kerry’s Place Autism Services. But there are far better ways of dealing with the situation — such as avoiding the triggers and defusing their anger — than mechanically restraining them. The director of Autism Ontario said it has offered training to Toronto Police but unlike their colleagues in Ottawa, few have taken advantage of it.

Aug 25/11 ‘Serious occurrences’ must be reported by ONT daycares
Toronto Star – Starting this Nov, all licensed Ontario child-care operators must clearly post serious occurrence reports in a visible area of the centre for at least 10 days. The change follows the Jan 7/11 death of 14-month-old Duy-An Nguyen in an unlicensed home daycare and a 2-year battle by Star reporter Rob Cribb to bring these reports to light. They included incidents of children being hit and kicked and playing in dirty conditions. The education minister said privacy concerns and other details need to be worked out before serious occurrences can be posted online.

Aug 22/11 UK Churches’ Network for Non-Violence holds vigil against cp
Cambridge News, UK – A candlelit vigil dedicated to ending violence against children will be held in Cambridge, England Aug 23. The ‘Ending Corporal Punishment of Children’ service will be hosted by the Churches’ Network for Non-Violence and attended by the mayor of the city. The chairwoman of CNNV trustees, said: “We want children to grow up in a society of mutual respect where their human dignity is valued and where discipline is positive and non-violent. During the aftermath of the recent community violence we heard some groups calling for a return to harsh discipline such as corporal punishment. But this would be counter-productive.”

Aug 19/11 Manslaughter trial in home daycare death adjourned to Oct
Medicine Hat – Erin Jackman, 25, charged with manslaughter July/10 in the death of an 18-month-old child at the day home she operated is adjourned to Oct 20 for more discussion between counsel. Her counsel said it shouldn’t be assumed that the trial will not proceed. See July 26/10 item for report of charge arising from death of toddler, Mercedes Pepper.

Aug 11/11 Calgary father charged with attempted murder of 11-month-old
Toronto Star – A Calgary father is charged with attempted murder after he allegedly slashed his 11-month-old son who was rushed to hospital in critical condition after a 911 call. The baby is now in stable condition and expected to recover.

Aug 3/11 Mother guilty in 2004 baby death and 2010 attempted murder of son – A Calgary woman, Stacy Bourdeaux, 34, pleads guilty to manslaughter of her 10-month-old son, Sean Ronald Fewer, in Dec/04 and guilty to attempted murder of her 5-yr-old son in May/10 and failing to provide him with the necessities of life. The death of the baby came to light during investigation into the death of the 5-yr-old. She admitted smothering the baby when he wouldn’t stop crying and putting a pillow over his face until he stopped breathing. At the time, his death did not raise any suspicion with the medical examiner who ruled it sudden infant death syndrome.

The attack on the 5-yr-old happened in May/10, when Bourdeaux dragged the child upstairs after he had thrown a tantrum. Over a 2-hour period she attempted to choke him to death and waited several days before taking him to hospital. He survived, but has severe brain damage, no longer speaks and has limited motor skills. Bourdeaux will be in court Nov. 16 following completion of a pre-sentence and psychological-risk assessment. See Aug 28/10 for previous report on case.

July 28/11 BC father charged with murder of 7-yr-old son
Vancouver Sun – A Campbell River, Van Island father, Brent Allan Warren, 43, is charged with 1st degree murder in the death of his 7-year-old son, Jonathan. An ambulance was called from the house early in the morning and took Jonathan and 2 others to hospital where Jonathan died shortly after admission. There is a publication ban on the nature of the injuries and other information.

July 27/11 U of T/McGill/Minnesota study finds long-term damage from cp
Toronto Sun – Hitting misbehaving kids with sticks might result in immediate obedience, but new research suggests it damages in the long term. The study compared grade 1 students in two West African private schools from the same urban neighbourhood whose parents were mostly civil servants, professionals and merchants. The difference was their school discipline. One school beat disobedient kids with sticks, slaps or pinched them. The other favoured non-physical punishment such as time-outs or verbal reprimands. The students from the school with corporal punishment performed significantly worse. The study’s authors from U of T, McGill and University of Minnesota say the results show kids will immediately cease bad behaviour after physical punishment, but fail to internalize the morals or rules behind the punishment. The study is published in the journal Social Development. See Research chapter for link to study.

July 12/11 US methods for tallying/analysing child-abuse flawed
Associated Press (from PTAVE) – In a new report to Congress, the US Government Accountability Office says state agencies and Health and Human Services should broaden the scope of data collection, improve coordination, and seek uniform definitions of abuse and maltreatment. The main source of nationwide data is the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, which issues an annual report based on information submitted voluntarily by states.

The latest report for 2009 estimates that 1,770 children died from abuse or neglect. Nearly half of states included data only from child welfare agencies, yet not all children who die from maltreatment have had contact with these agencies; likely leading to incomplete counts due to lack of data from coroners’ offices, law enforcement agencies and other sources. The report highlights various problems.

Comment: Many of the problems referred to also exist in Canada and are discussed in Child Protection in Canada, Discussion Paper, 1981. See Research chapter.

June 30/11 Remembering Randal 7, Tiffany 15, and Shakeil 10
Share (New website of Share, described as Canada’s largest ethnic community newspaper.) Members of the Jamaican community plant a commemorative tree and erect a plaque at Glamorgan Park in memory of Randal Dooley who came to Canada from Jamaica to live with his father about a year before his death. The 7-year-old was found with 13 fractured ribs, a damaged liver, four brain injuries and a tooth embedded in his stomach. His father and stepmother were convicted in May/02 of 2nd- degree- murder in the child’s death. Since then, 2 other young Jamaican children who came to Canada to live with their fathers and stepmothers have suffered a similar fate.

Last June, 15-year-old Tiffany Gayle’s lifeless body was found in her Brampton home. The grade 10 student died from blunt force injuries and had come from Jamaica to join her father, Frederick Gayle and stepmother, Elizabeth Gayle. Both are now facing 2nd-degree murder charges. See June 16/10 note on Tiffany’s death.

This May, the body of 10-year-old Shakeil Boothe was found in his home. His father, Brampton resident Garfield Boothe and wife Nichelle Boothe-Rowe, have been charged with 2nd degree murder. Shakeil came to Canada from Jamaica 2 years ago to be with his father. See May 30 and June 8/11 notes on Shakeil’s death.

A new US website ‘’ was created in April by Dr. Stacey Patton, a black American children’s advocate and professor. Its mission is ‘to provide black parents, families and communities with a full range of alternatives to corporal punishment.’

June 24/11 US survey finds ‘staggeringly high rate of spanking’
UNC Health Care – A new survey finds that 30% of North Carolina mothers of children less than 2 years old say they have spanked their children in the last year. In addition, 5% of North Carolina mothers of 3-month-old babies say they have spanked their very young children. More than 70% of mothers of 23-month-old children say they have done so. “We were pretty surprised by the staggeringly high rate of spanking,” said Dr. Adam Zolotor, lead author of the study and assistant prof in the Dept of Family Medicine U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “We need to do a better job as a society teaching parents how to teach their kids what they need to learn without fear, pain, or coercion.” The study is published in the online journal Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry.

June 21/11 Alta daycare owner, Jackman, to be tried in death of toddler
Medicine Hat – Medicine Hat day home operator, Erin Louise Jackman, 24, is ordered to stand trial after a preliminary hearing when judge ruled there was enough evidence to proceed on manslaughter charges. A 19-month-old toddler in her care died of a critical head wound July/10. This led to charges of manslaughter and failing to provide the necessities of life. A trial will be scheduled Aug 18. Many of the details of the case have been placed under a publication ban – including all evidence at the preliminary hearing and the name of the deceased toddler. See July 26/10 note on this death.

June 21/11 Bill would make failure to report child abuse an offence
Bloc Québécois MP, Maria Mourani, (Ahuntsic, north Montreal) introduces a bill that would amend the Criminal Code to make it an offence to fail or neglect to inform the police or social services of a situation in which someone has reasonable grounds to believe that a child is being sexually or physically abused. In introducing the bill, she said: ‘I believe that we all have the responsibility to protect the children in our society, and if we do not do so, if we remain silent or look away, we are just as guilty as the individual committing the crime. I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill.’ Click for Bill.

June 18/11 Texas bans school cp if parents object in writing
A bill passed this month after extensive lobbying against school corporal punishment in Texas requires that where cp is permitted as a method of student discipline, an educator may only use it where the student’s parent or guardian has previously provided a written, signed statement prohibiting its use. The bill defines cp as deliberate infliction of physical pain by hitting, paddling, spanking, slapping, or any other physical force used as a means of discipline but does not include physical pain caused by reasonable use of restraint. Supporters see this as a significant start to eventual elimination of school cp in Texas.

June 16/11 Letter in Sudbury Star challenges need for spanking
A June 11 article in the Sudbury Star quoted a certified parent consultant as praising her spanking of her 2-year-old 20 years ago for escaping the backyard and ‘heading for the park’. The article quoted parents of young children who strongly disagreed. See Letters/Articles for a June 16 letter of response: Spanking children is never justifiable.

June 8/11 10-yr-old Shakeil’s stepmother charged with manslaughter
CBC – Nichelle Boothe-Rowe, wife of Garfield Boothe, and stepmother to 10-year-old Shakeil, is charged with manslaughter in his death. His father was charged last month with 2-degree murder. People who had seen the boy said he was thin, not well dressed for Canadian weather and never seen playing. See May 30 note on this death.

June 3/11 – Trial of father in death of 10-month-old ‘repeatedly delayed’
Calgary Sun – Jamie Allen Dorey, 31, was committed to stand trial in Calgary last July for manslaughter in the Aug. 3/09 death of his 10-month-old son, Bryson Dorey-Fox, who was found in his bassinette struggling to breathe. Defence counsel told Justice Earl Wilson that Dorey’s case has been repeatedly delayed while he waited for approval of an expert witness. Alberta’s former chief medical examiner, Dr. John Butt, will be asked to provide an opinion on the death of the Calgary baby.

May 31/11 – Prelim hearing in Mississauga daycare death of 14-month-old
Mississauga News – Mississauga daycare owner, April Luckese, 35, charged with 2nd degree murder in the death of 14-month-old of Duy-An Nguyen last Jan may have a preliminary hearing date set this month but it won’t start until later this year, at the earliest. See Jan 9/11 note on this death.

May 30/11 Brampton father charged in death of 10-year-old son, Shakeil
Toronto Sun – Garfield Boothe, 31, only learned 2 years ago that he had a son in Jamaica and promptly brought him to Canada for ‘a better life’ to live with him and his wife. When police responded they found the child dead and concluded he hadn’t died of natural causes. The father was initially charged with failing to provide the necessities of life but will be charged with 2nd-degree murder. A neighbour said he often heard the couple arguing leading up to the birth of a child 8 months ago. Others said they believe Shakeil’s stepmother moved out a few weeks ago and took the baby with her. CTV News reported the same day that Shakeil was described as a ‘terribly polite child’ and had been a Grade 5 student before his father allegedly took him out of school.

May 19/11 U of T study finds child abuse/physical illness correlation
Toronto Star – University of Toronto researchers, led by Esme Fuller-Thomson, find a correlation between childhood physical abuse and conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. Fuller-Thomson noted that while there was a lot of research on the mental health outcomes linked to childhood physical abuse, little was known about physical health outcomes. The researchers examined data from a Canadian Community Health Survey by Statistics Canada in 2005 in which 7,342 women were asked if they had been physically abused as children and diagnosed with certain health syndromes as adults. The study found that women who said they were physically abused as children were more likely to suffer from conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome. See Research chapter for abstract of study. Fuller-Thomson’s previous research found adults who had been physically abused as children had 45% higher odds of cancer, 45% higher odds of heart disease, 56% higher odds of osteoarthritis, 68% higher odds of ulcers and 36% higher odds of migraines.

In a June 14 letter to the editor, Fuller-Thomson replied to a ‘junk science’ column in the Toronto Star by Heather Mallick. Fuller-Thomson stressed that the study is not a cause-and-effect study and that the only ethical way to investigate whether abuse is associated with health outcomes is to use observational studies. ‘We cannot randomly assign children to be abused and then follow up in 50 years to see what health conditions they develop.’

May 12/11 Common elements in Randal Dooley, Emmily Lucas deaths
The main facts in the deaths of 7-year-old Randal Dooley and 2-year-old Emmily Lucas are summarized under the links at the top of this chapter. The following elements in these deaths are danger signals and a call for action where family members, neighbours, schoolteachers, child protection workers, or police have reason to believe that a child is frequently being disciplined by corporal punishment and any of the following about the child or parent are known:

  • sudden removal of child from a previous environment
  • immigration from a culture where such punishment is widely accepted
  • abusive childhood of parent or caregiver
  • lack of understanding of child’s needs and development
  • lack of knowledge of positive methods of discipline
  • application for custody or access has been made to family court
  • family members are afraid of child protection authorities
  • inability of child and siblings to recognize mistreatment and seek help.

In addition to repealing S. 43 and a public awareness campaign to make this change in the law known, other measures could help prevent such deaths. Citizenship guides could give clear and unequivocal notice to immigrants that in Canada assaulting children for disciple is a criminal offence. Provincial child protection laws could be amended to make failure to report reasonable suspicions of abuse by any person an offence so family members, friends and neighbours would have notice of their legal obligation to report. Family courts could be required to give priority to custody/access applications where there are allegations of frequent physical punishment.

May 11/11 New trial in Alta strangling death of 14-yr-old daughter
Oral judgment Alberta Court of Appeal May 11, released May 17 – The Alberta Court of Appeal allows appeal by Crown and sets aside verdict of acquittal for 2nd degree murder and probation for Asset Magomadova, 41, for killing her 14-yr-old daughter Aminat, by strangulation. The court ordered a new trial, saying that although the trial judge rejected the mother’s claim of self-defence, he failed to properly consider the evidence of Magomadova’s intent at the time of strangulation. His reliance on the unexplained “complex set of factors” behind Magomadova’s intent was not justified. See July 15/10 report on case.

May 10/11 Section 43 first brought to attention of Senate 15 years ago
On June 5, 1996, Senator Sharon Carstairs filed a Notice of Motion in the Senate calling for an inquiry into S. 43. She drew the attention of senators to the fact that under S. 43 parents and teachers have been acquitted of assault for kicking a child, chaining a teenage daughter and hitting a schoolboy on the head. Later in the year, she introduced the first ever Senate bill to repeal the section. Our Repeal 43 Committee organized a press conference in support. See Senate Bill S-14 to Repeal S. 43 for further information on this bill.

May 6/11 Manitoba professor honoured for child-rearing research
Winnipeg Free Press – 78 Manitoba women were honoured as nominees for the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, which salute women for achievements in fields from education and arts to science and health. Twelve awards were given at the 35th annual ceremony on May 5, one of which in the field of education went to U of M Family Science professor, Joan Durrant for her widely published research on child-rearing. Her research has sparked worldwide interest.

Ap 26/11 Bangladesh guidelines ban corporal punishment in all schools – Bangladesh has new guidelines banning corporal punishment in all educational institutions following a Jan/11 High Court ruling declaring such punishments unconstitutional. Teachers found guilty of using corporal punishment would face measures under civil service rules and, if necessary, criminal law. The guideline directs institutions to take steps to campaign against corporal punishment, alert guardians and organize training for teachers.

April 18/11 Reports of mistreatment in Ontario daycares not public
Toronto Star – Child-care centres are required to report serious incidents of abuse, mistreatment, injury or death to the Ontario govt but so far Ontario hasn’t established a system to make this information publicly available. A Star investigation in 2007 through freedom of information requests, showed that children have been hit, kicked and allegedly strapped into a chair as discipline. The Ministry of Education has recently taken over this responsibility and is currently setting up a system to report such incidents.

Ap 7/11 New Mexico bans school corporal punishment
Huffpost Education – New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signs a bill that will eliminate corporal punishment in public schools across the state. This makes New Mexico the 31st state to ban this unjust act and demonstrates her commitment to protect New Mexico’s 330,000 schoolchildren. U.S. Secretary of Education agrees, stating that for every child to learn in school, “they must feel safe first…they cannot do their best or concentrate academically if they are scared.” The bill will take effect July 1/11. See School Corporal Punishment, Other Countries, for other information.

Ap 3/11 New Mexico paper changes editorial stance on cp ban – After more reflection on the issue, the New Mexico Sun-News changes its position and editorializes that when it comes to the protection of students, the state has both a right and an obligation to get involved. Corporal punishment is already banned in both the military and foster care and schools should be held to the same standard. It cites the American Academy of Child and Adolescent, Am Medical Association, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, National Education Association, Am Bar Association and Am Academy of Pediatrics as agreeing: “Corporal punishment signals to the child that a way to settle interpersonal conflicts is to use physical force and inflict pain. Such children may in turn resort to such behavior themselves. They may also fail to develop trusting, secure relationships with adults and fail to evolve the necessary skills to settle disputes or wield authority in less violent ways.”

Mar 29/11 Pressure to ban school cp mounts in US
New York Times – While the image of the high school principal patrolling the halls with paddle in hand is largely of the past, corporal punishment is still alive in 20 states. The federal Dept of Education estimates that 223,190 children were subjected to corporal punishment in schools in the 2005-6 school year. Each year, prodded by child safety advocates, state legislatures debate whether corporal punishment amounts to an archaic form of child abuse or an effective means of discipline. Prompted by the threat of lawsuits and research that questions its effectiveness, states have gradually started banning the practice.

Mar 26/11 Federal elections called and Senate Bill S-204 dies.

Mar 20/11 Ottawa policeman avoids jail in severe assaults on sons
Leader Post, Regina (reprinted from Ottawa Citizen) – An Ottawa area police constable charged with 2 counts of assault with a weapon and 2 counts of assault causing bodily harm to his young sons is given a conditional discharge requiring him to obey the law. The 33-yr-old pled guilty in Jan/11 to beating his children so badly that one of them couldn’t walk afterwards and the other was beaten with a belt while still in diapers. Earlier reports in the Ottawa Citizen indicated the two boys were around age 3 and 6, the assaults left bruising and marks of a belt buckle on their bodies, and the beatings took place over an 8-month period in 2009. The case came to light after the wife, now seeking a divorce, called police. Court was told the father whipped his children to correct their behaviour and that corporal punishment is acceptable in his homeland.

The prosecutor called for jail time, saying the punishment exceeded the Canadian standard and that the public needed to know that if you abuse children you risk going to prison. But Judge Gilles Renaud decided against jail on the basis of a favourable job performance evaluation; the fact father had taken parenting and anger management courses during the previous year; past decisions that favoured leniency and that registering a conviction would go against “public interest by depriving the community of the skills and talents of the police officer”.

Comment: Section 718 of the Code sets out the purpose and principles of sentencing. These include denouncing unlawful conduct, rehabilitating offenders, and deterring the offender and other persons from committing offences. The fundamental principle is that a sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence and the degree of responsibility of the offender. Court must also consider as an aggravating circumstance, evidence that the offender abused his/her child or was in a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim. This sentence shows how far courts will go in avoiding jail sentences for parental assaults against children.

Mar 4/11 Couple who starved, beat Jeffrey Baldwin lose appeal
National Post – Ontario Court of Appeal dismisses appeals by Elva Bottineau and common-law partner, Norman Kidman, grandparents of 5-year-old Jeffrey who died in Nov/02. They are serving life sentences for 2nd degree murder with no chance of parole for 22 years and 20 years respectively. (The appalling life and death of Jeffrey is summarized under Jeffrey Baldwin Death at the top of this chapter.)

March/April/11 Letters in Nat Post and Frontenac News re cp
See Articles/Letters for a letter from Ron Ensom and Joan Durrant in the Frontenac News re research, Sweden, and claims of Biblical support for corporal punishment, and from a member of the public re MP Scott Reid’s mailouts to constituents, and in National Post from Corinne Robertshaw re beating death of 2-yr-old Emmily Lucas.

Mar 3/11 The depths of maternal rage
National Post – (Reprint of a NY Times article by Katherine Ellison commenting on a murder charge against a middle-class Florida mother for the Jan/11 shooting death of her teenage son and daughter for being ‘mouthy’. Police had questioned the mother for slapping her daughter 3 months before the killings.) Even as corporal punishment is declining in social acceptability, about 7 in 10 Americans agreed in a 2004 survey that children ‘sometimes need a good, hard spanking’. This despite ‘mountains of studies’ that this does much more harm than good, increases the risk of anxiety, depression and addiction and that spanking and slapping can escalate – sometimes even to the point of deadly violence. (The article appeared in the National Post the same day it reported the Mendieta sentence for the beating death of her 2-year-old daughter.)

Mar 2/11 Six years for beating death of 2-year-old daughter, Emmily
Toronto Sun – In sentencing Erika Mendieta to 6 years in prison for manslaughter in the beating death of her 2-year-old daughter, Emmily Lucas, Judge Nola Garton described the beating as ‘an abhorrent act of violence against a defenceless, vulnerable child and a gross violation of the breach of trust”. After deducting 15 months for pre-trial custody, Mendieta, age 34, will serve the remaining 4 years, 9 months in prison. Judge Garton found that Mendieta did not intend to kill her daughter and exhibited remorse for her death. She inflicted the blows to Emmily’s tiny body in a fit of anger at the child’s crying when she was leaving to pick up her other children from school. She said she did not realize the extent of the child’s injuries until she returned home about 30 minutes later and phoned 911 in near panic.

Comment: Mendieta testified at the trial that she ‘disciplined’ Emmily and her other 5 children by hitting with a sandal, slipper or hand. She acknowledged striking Emmily on the bottom, arms and legs, sometimes causing bruises. Hitting seems to have been the main method of discipline in the home and finally escalated to a fatal beating in a moment of rage and frustration at Emmily’s crying. She acknowledged that it was wrong to hit her children and did not know why she did so. She testified that her aunt and mother had physically abused her and that she left home at age 12 to live with her boyfriend’s family. The fatal beating of 2-year-old Emmily is an example of how the acceptance of corporal punishment as discipline can end in the death of a child, and tragedy for all concerned. The Toronto Star reported on the trial and sentence. There was no mention of the case in the Globe and Mail.

Feb 27/11 US Catholic Archbishop bans school cp, saying it’s morally wrong
Times-Picayune, New Orleans – The Archbishop of New Orleans, Gregory Aymond, confronts Catholic schools’ last vestige of formal physical punishment at St. Augustine High School, the school designated for the education of young men from Black Catholic families of New Orleans. Described as ‘one of the jewels of Catholic education’, corporal punishment is administered with a piece of wood at the front of the class. Saying physical punishment is expressly banned in all Catholic schools for reasons both theological and psychological, the Archbishop said: ‘I do not believe the teachings of the Catholic Church as we interpret them in 2011 condone corporal punishment… It’s hard for me to imagine in any way, shape or form, Jesus using a paddle.’

Feb 25/11 Obit for minister who pushed BC govt to ban school strap
Globe and Mail – Eileen Dailly, BC minister of education and later deputy minister in the NDP govt of 1972, died on Salt Spring Island Jan 17. During the NDPs 4-year term, she pushed through some groundbreaking legislation, including the ban of corporal punishment in BC schools, for which she faced hundreds of death threats. BC was the first province to ban the strap when it amended its School Act in 1973. It wasn’t until 2004 that the Supreme Court of Canada outlawed corporal punishment in schools throughout the country. Ms Dailly retired in 1986, without having lost an election in 10 years.

Feb 24/11 Windsor-Essex CAS reply to ‘Let parents do the parenting’ Feb 7
Windsor Star – In a letter to the Windsor Star re its editorial on the Senate bill to repeal S. 43, the ED of the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society notes that S. 43 does not afford children the same legal protection from harm as adults – and if hitting children were against the law, as it is for adults, it would be a lot harder to ignore. Unfortunately, he writes, child welfare legislation and criminal law does not go far enough to eliminate the misconception that children must be physically hurt in order to gain compliance, or that by being punished they will learn great life lessons. See Articles/Letters 1990 – 2011 for this and other letters.

Feb 11/11 Crown seeks 10 yrs for manslaughter of 2-yr-old daughter
Toronto Sun – Calling it a “sustained and brutal attack on a tiny, innocent, vulnerable child, who could have been returned to a loving home at any time”, Crown counsel called for a 10-year prison term for the child’s mother, Erika Mendieta. Defence counsel said his client endured childhood abuse by her alcoholic mother and others and then ran away from home as a 13-year-old and lived with her boyfriend’s family. He urged a 4 to 6 year sentence less 12 months credit for time already served. “She admitted she struck Emmily but insisted she didn’t abuse her children the way she was abused…This is a very, very sad and tragic case.” said her counsel. Mendieta will be sentenced March 2. (At the Feb 11 hearing, submissions on sentence were made to Judge Nola Garton by Crown and defence counsel. The courtroom was cleared for victim impact statements by family members.)

Feb 11/11 Reply to Windsor Star editorial ‘Let parents do the parenting’ Feb. 7
Windsor Star – A letter to the Windsor Star on behalf of the Repeal 43 Committee notes that the Private Member’s Senate bill to repeal Section 43 would end the Criminal Code message that hitting is a rightful and legally approved way to correct children – and that it in no way interferes with any other style of parenting. See Articles/Letters 1990 – 2011 for this and other recent letters.

Feb 11/11 Mother/boyfriend/grandmother jailed for treatment of little boys – The 2 boys, age 2 and 5 yrs, were discovered by police locked in a filthy basement in Stoney Creek, Ont. in conditions described by Justice Bernd Zabel as unthinkable squalor, filth and putrification. The boys rescued themselves by clawing a hole in the wall of their room, wriggled out, found a phone and called 911. The judge sentenced each of the adults to 2 years less a day in jail; the longest sentence possible in the provincial jail system. The brothers, now 4 and 7, live with other relatives under the care of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. What the future holds for them is uncertain. As assistant Crown attorney said, we may not know for years how all this will affect the children and it is worrisome to think of the effects this will have. Though the youngest won’t remember his time locked in the basement, it almost certainly has had an impact on his development and his ability to trust, love and feel safe. Each accused lacks any significant insight into the consequences of their actions. They were stunned by the sentence and intend to appeal. See our Ap10/09 News item for previous item.

Comment: The 2-yr-old may well remember. Research on infant anticipatory stress at the Dept. of Psychology, U of T, Aug/10, suggests that infants are not only sensitive to relationship disruptions but can remember them. (See Research chapter for study.) And what remarkable little boys to literally dig themselves out of this atrocious situation!

Feb 10/11 Ontario mother jailed 14 yrs gets new trial in death of toddler
Canadian Press – Tammy Marquardt was granted a new trial on Jan 31 in the death of her toddler 17 years ago. The mother from Oshawa, Ont. spent 14 years behind bars after she was convicted in 1995 of killing her son, 2-year-old Kenneth Wynne. Her lawyer, James Lockyer, told the court Kenneth was epileptic and could have died from a seizure. Crown agreed the conviction should be quashed because Smith made ‘a number of mistakes’. His errors effectively precluded the jury from considering the possibility that Kenneth had died of ‘sudden unexplained death in epilepsy’ but ordering a new trial rather than entering an acquittal was appropriate because other evidence — motive, opportunity and what the Crown called a ‘confession’ — could reasonably support a conviction. Nevertheless, it appeared unlikely Marquardt will face a new trial, as in similar cases involving Smith, charges were stayed or dropped or no evidence was called at trial; leading effectively to an acquittal.

Feb 5/11 Alberta Appeal Court increases sentence for ‘spanking’
Calgary Sun – A Calgary father who pled guilty to hitting his 9-yr-old daughter with a belt on her bare bottom was given 2 years probation and community service by a provincial court judge. The Alberta Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, found this sentence inappropriate and ordered the father, Mark Anthony Harris, to serve a 9-month custodial sentence on a charge of assault with a weapon. It found the assault a severe and savage beating that caused scabs and abrasions and held the provincial court judge failed to give enough weight to aggravating circumstances such as the victim’s age and the fact Harris, as her father, was in a position of trust. His conduct called for denunciation and deterrence and warranted jail time. The child, who was with Harris for 10 months after her substance-addicted mother could no longer care for her, suffers from fetal alcohol effect and was difficult to handle, the top court noted. She is now in the care of her maternal grandmother.

Feb 2/11 Australian research finds ‘time-outs’ an effective discipline tactic
Vancouver Sun – Researchers at the University of Queensland reviewed dozens of studies on the efficacy of ‘time out’, concluding it’s an effective tactic if parents can keep their cool when deploying it. ‘This is not about shutting kids in cupboards or putting them in scary places,’ said Matthew Sanders, professor of clinical psychology and founder of the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. ‘The controversy often stems from people who misunderstand what they see as the rejection of children.’ Time out can de-escalate contentious parent-child situations, they found, and the more effectively and consistently it’s used, the less it’s needed, said Sanders. The research is published in the Feb/11 issue of the Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Jan 27/11 Boyfriend to stand trial for murder in Oshawa toddler’s death
Toronto Sun – Details from the preliminary hearing of Michael Monckton on the injuries and death of 2-yr-old Keagan Davis cannot be revealed at this time but Justice DeFreitas determined there was enough evidence to commit Monckton to trial for 2nd degree murder, aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm. He was watching the child on Jan 5/10 while the mother worked. She said she did not believe Monckton would intentionally do anything to harm Keagan. Monckton, an unemployed millwright, will next appear in court April 18. See our Jan 13/10 News item for previous information.

Jan 24/11 Letter Toronto Star website Emmily’s death preventable
Toronto Star website – In a Jan 24 letter on behalf of the Repeal 43 Committee, the writer points out that 2-yr-old Emmily Lucas was hit and beaten as a method of ‘discipline’ during the 4 months before the final beating that ended in her death. Changes in the law and family court procedure could have helped prevent this. See Articles/Letters 1990 – 2011 for this and other letters.

Jan 23/11 Spanked children hitting back
The Sunday Mail, Queensland, Australia – Commenting on the Ap 12/10 study by Catherine S. Taylor at Tulane University, child psychologist Dr. Bob Montgomery has called for a public health campaign to end smacking. ‘The research is absolutely clear; kids who are being spanked at age three were significantly more likely to be violent by age five,’ he said. ‘Basically, they are being taught that violence is okay.’ It was not that other factors did not also influence the risk of child aggression because, as would be expected, some did, he wrote. ‘It was the finding that even allowing for that contribution, use of spanking itself was itself a major risk factor…What we should do is run a proper public health campaign that says, of course you need to discipline your kids, but there are better ways than smacking,’ Dr Montgomery said. He believes this would lead to a reduction in schoolyard and street violence. (See Research chapter for Tulane study.)

Jan 19/11 BC minister who banned strapping in schools dies
Times Colonist – Eileen Dailly, NDP education minister from 1972-75 who banned the strap at public and private schools across the province, died Monday on Saltspring Island, BC. ‘She believed so deeply in fairness and justice,’ said NDP leader Carole James, ‘I think that’s why the strap offended her so much — she saw that as an act of unfairness of power between an adult and a child.’ Dailly’s decision to ban corporal punishment in schools in 1973 made BC the first province to do so. In 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that corporal punishment was unwarranted in schools, and it was outlawed across the country.

Comment: Since 1989, all provinces and territories except Manitoba and Alberta have amended their education acts to specifically prohibit corporal punishment. See School Corporal Punishment chapter.

Jan 19/11 Jamaica moves to end school corporal punishment
The Gleaner, Kingston – Jamaica’s Education Minister, Andrew Holness, says the ministry is pushing to move away from corporal punishment in schools. His comments follow reports in the media this week that a boy was blinded in one eye after the belt his teacher was using to punish another child caught him in the eye. New measures the Ministry plans to implement will be in a green paper on Safe School Policy.

Jan 19/11 US discipline poll shows most parents use talk instead of cp
Press release, University of Michigan – A survey conducted for the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Ann Arbour, Mich in Jan/10 presented parents of children age 2-17 yrs with a series of scenarios and asked how likely they were to use different discipline strategies with their child. The most common discipline strategies parents reported they are “very likely” to use are: explain or reason with the child (88%), take away a privilege or something the child enjoys (70%), time outs or grounding (59%).

Many parents reported they were very likely to use more than one strategy and that they tailor their discipline to the age of the child. Less than one-quarter of parents report that they would be “very likely” to spank or paddle their children. Results of this national study indicate that the vast majority of parents are already avoiding spanking and similar approaches like paddling. See Research chapter for survey.

Jan 18/11 Justice for 2-year-old Emmily Lucas
Toronto Star – After more than 7 years and 2 mistrials, Erika Mendieta is finally convicted of manslaughter in the 2003 beating death of her 2-year-old daughter, Emmily Lucas. In a ruling that took 4 hours to read, Justice Nola Garton rejected Mendieta’s evidence that Emmily’s injuries were caused by an accidental fall down stairs. She did not find her a credible witness and believed that Mendieta and her former boyfriend colluded in an attempt to exonerate Mendieta by his testifying under protection of the Canada Evidence Act that he, not Mendieta, had injured the child. The judge found that although Mendieta, 34, angrily beat the toddler in their North York home, she did not intend to kill her. After Mendieta was led away in handcuffs, her mother, Jauna Nakata, protested that her daughter is innocent.

Jan 18/11 Manslaughter verdict in beating death of 2-year-old
Toronto Sun – Erika Mendieta showed no emotion as she was acquitted of 2nd-degree murder but found guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Emmily Lucas. Justice Nola Garton found that Mendieta and her then boyfriend ‘fabricated’ his confession that he had killed the child. Emmily’s loving guardian and paternal aunt who had cared for Emmily since her birth until 4 months before her death was overcome by emotion. A handcuffed Mendieta shouted to her ‘Why are you crying? Are you happy I’m going to jail?’ A sidebar to the Sun article gives a useful chronology of the case. Mendieta will be sentenced Feb 11. (The National Post reported the conviction but Canada’s other ‘national’ newspaper, the Globe and Mail, did not cover it.)

Jan 13/11 Bangladesh High Courts declares school cp illegal – The High Court, Dhaka, declares corporal punishment of primary and secondary-level students unconstitutional. The court also directs the government to issue guidelines and adopt necessary measures to contain any sort of mental and physical punishments of school students. Ministries are told to form a national committee and submit reports notifying the court whether the directives are being implemented properly.

Jan 9/11 Toronto daycare owner charged with murder of 14-month-old
Toronto Star – April Luckese, 35, owner and operator of ‘April’s Daycare’, an unlicenced daycare in Mississauga, is charged with 2n-degree murder after 14-month-old Duy-An Nguyen dies in hospital from severe head trauma. The child died 2 days after she was found unconscious and unresponsive at the operator’s home daycare. The parents had made arrangements to remove Duy-An but she was injured the day before the planned removal. The family described Duy-An as a very smart little girl who loved books and singing. Luckese was initially charged with aggravated assault when the child was taken to hospital after she couldn’t be wakened from a nap.

The daycare website described it as a safe, loving and nurturing home environment with its operator having over 15 years experience. On Jan 12, the Toronto Star reported that the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care is calling for a coroner’s inquiry and believes the absence of licensing requirement for home daycares puts children at risk. (See also our July 26/10 News item re a charge of manslaughter against Erin Jackman, operator of a private home daycare in Medicine Hat, Alberta.)

Jan 9/11 BC to review possible head injuries to 4-year-old Victoria boy
Victoria Times Colonist – A four-year-old boy in critical condition after a possible assault, was known to harm himself, bang his head on walls and engage in other bizarre behaviour. The boy, who had been living in a foster home since October with parents who wanted to adopt him, was taken to Victoria General Hospital with severe head trauma and other injuries. Emergency room staff alerted police when it appeared the boy might have been assaulted. Investigators are awaiting a medical determination on the cause of the toddler’s injuries. There have been no arrests or charges. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, will conduct an independent review of the case.

Jan 8/11 Calgary Sun columnist agrees spanking children is wrong
Calgary Sun – Columnnist Ian Robinson writes that he hates to agree with Senator Hervieux-Payette but that she’s right about it being wrong to spank children and if this puts him at odds with most Sun commentators, that’s OK. Whether we need to ban corporal punishment is another matter, he says. He would prefer that we start talking seriously about alternatives and trying to create a cultural shift so that spanking became less and less socially acceptable – like smoking. But the bottom line, he writes, is that hitting children is an immoral act and we can dress the practice up all pretty-like and pretend it’s being done as an act of love … but it’s a lie. He then recounts some of his own experiences with corporal punishment. See Articles/Letters for this article and a Jan 12 letter to editor thanking Robinson for his article.

Jan 7/11 State has duty to protect children: they’re not 2nd class citizens
Brantford Expositor –A letter to the editor labels Senator Hervieux-Payette’s attempts to protect children ‘harebrained’ and ‘misguided’. A reader from P.E.I responds that he considers this an unwarranted attack on the Senator and asks: Because she sees things differently she deserves contempt? He’s puzzled, he writes, by people who value privacy above all – even above the safety of children, and reminds readers that the state has a duty to protect children from those whose views belong in the past and who continue to regard the young as second-class citizens. See Articles/Letters.

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