Tunisia bans spanking (even by parents)
Talk about government involvement in the home: Tunisia lawmakers have voted to ban spanking of children by anybody, parents included.
The AFP news service reported that the northern African nation eliminated a legal provision that had said that corporal punishment by an adult who has authority over a child cannot be prosecuted.
That makes spanking a penal offense, in school, at home, anywhere.
Critics argued that the legal change was a clear infringement of parental authority and could negatively affect family ties.
But Justice and Human Rights Minister Lazhar Bououny said the ban was implemented to protect children from violence, and he encouraged "relations based on mutual respect, dialogue and understanding."
Parliament also set the legal age at 18, in line with the penal age and the right to vote.
In the United States, of course, not only do parents spank their kids at will, but 20 states still allow adults to whack kids in school as a form of punishment, and hundreds of thousands of students a year are struck.
A bill was recently introduced in Congress to institute a federal ban on corporal punishment in schools.
Let me be clear, though: This is not to equate the countries in any sense. A new Amnesty International report documented abuses by the Tunisian government against independent organizations as well as individuals, characterized by surveillance, harassment, smear campaigns and prosecution on phony charges, and physical assault.
So back to the ban on spanking. Is this a good idea or wildly intrusive?
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| July 23, 2010; 2:00 AM ET
Categories: Discipline, Parents | Tags: ban on spanking, corporal punishment, should kids be spanked?, tunisia bans spanking
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