WHEREAS children deserve to grow up in an environment free from violence and physical harm; and
WHEREAS children are at the most vulnerable and impressionable period of their lives during which future behavior, happiness, and psychological health are greatly influenced; and
WHEREAS children learn good behavior by imitating the good behavior of the significant adults in their lives, and to show respect for others because they have been shown respect; and
WHEREAS corporal punishment is the intentional infliction of physical pain for the purpose of punishment; and
WHEREAS corporal punishment of children typically occurs when the adult caretaker is angry and can escalate to a dangerous level, and can interfere with open and honest communication between children and their caretakers; and
WHEREAS the American Academy of Pediatrics and children's advocates oppose the use of corporal punishment of children; and
WHEREAS national surveys and current research show that corporal punishment is common (35% of infants are hit before they are one year old); indicate that the majority of child abuse cases start out as corporal punishment; show a strong correlation between corporal punishment and substance abuse, learning disorders, and lower scholastic achievement; and indicate that corporal punishment often produces anger, resentment, low self-esteem, anxiety, helplessness, and humiliation; and
WHEREAS research demonstrates that the more children are hit, the greater the likelihood that they will engage in aggressive and anti-social behavior, with children experiencing frequent corporal punishment more likely to physically attack siblings and attack a spouse as an adult; and
WHEREAS Massachusetts state law (Chapter 71, Section 37G) prohibits the use of corporal punishment upon any pupil by teachers and school administrators; and
WHEREAS corporal punishment is an ineffective discipline strategy with children of all ages and there exist many effective alternatives to corporal punishment of children; therefore be it
RESOLVED the Boston City Council requests that appropriate city departments, agencies, educators, health care providers, and others who have contact with children explore how they can educate others about corporal punishment and alternative discipline techniques; and therefore be it further
RESOLVED that the Boston City Council encourages parents and caregivers of children to refrain from the use of corporal punishment and to use alternative methods of child discipline to reduce violence, protect our children's health and future well-being, and promote mutual respect between adults and children.
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