Swatting little Johnny on the bottom to make sure he doesn’t try again to put a fork in an electrical socket soon could make mom or dad a criminal subject to the penalties of child-abuse laws in Delaware.
And an international family rights organization says it not only opposes the idea, it will be working with state organizations to try to defeat the plan.
At issue is Delaware’s Senate Bill 234, which has been approved by the Senate and now is working its way through the House.
“Senate Bill 234, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Patricia Blevins (District 7), creates a definition of the term ‘physical injury’ in the child abuse and neglect laws to include ‘pain,’” according to a new report from the Home School Legal Defense Association.
“Currently the law permits a parent to use force to punish a child for misconduct, but it prohibits any act that is likely to cause or does cause physical injury. By redefining ‘physical injury’ to include the infliction of pain on a child, spanking would become a crime in Delaware punishable by imprisonment.”
The organization said if it passes the House, “Delaware would become the first state in the nation to outlaw corporal discipline of children by their parents.”
According to a report from Delaware First Media, the driving force behind the bill has been state Attorney General Beau Biden, a Democrat whose father is Vice President Joe Biden.
The report said Biden the younger “pointed out that more than three million children are reported to be victims of abuse or neglect in the United States each year, and the U.S. ranks higher in child abuse fatalities than any other industrialized nation in the world.”
The report said he cited statistics that an “abused or neglected” child is 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile,” and almost 30 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult.
“Far too many children are the victims of abuse, neglect and assault and [the bill] will go a long way to better protect the children of this state,” he told the publication.
However, the HSLDA said the change in the law would make it possible for a parent who spanks a child in a way that would include any “pain” would become guilty “of a class A misdemeanor and subject to one year in prison.”
The HSLDA analysis said, “A parent causing pain to a child who was three years of age or younger would be guilty of a class G felony and subject to two years in prison.”
The organization said it was working with the Delaware Home Education Association and the Delaware Family Policy Council to have the bill halted.
The plan is being sponsored by Patricia Blevins, a Democrat who is in a leadership post in the Senate.
The bill itself states, “These new statutes combine current statutes and redefine physical injury and serious physical injury to reflect the medical realities of pain and impairment suffered by children.”
WND reported only weeks ago that in Wisconsin, a case was developed against a pastor who taught his parishioners to discipline their children with a wooden spoon or rod.
Philip Caminiti, 55, of Aleitheia Bible Church, was sentenced in that case to two years in jail.