Pols deserve swat for proposed spanking ban
By Michele McPhee/ The Beat, Boston Herald Police Bureau Chief, Boston Herald, May 21, 2007

“I was spanked,” City Councilor Sam Yoon announced at a recent meeting of the council at City Hall.

Don’t worry. The City Council was not reaching new lows sharing lascivious S&M fantasies on the floor.

Instead, councilors were discussing a resolution filed by City Councilor Felix Arroyo that would ban corporal punishment in the city of Boston - essentially making it illegal for parents to spank naughty children.

During the May 9th hearing of the City Council, Arroyo filed the resolution as part of a way to “reduce violence by refraining from corporal punishment for children.”

Of course, Arroyo admitted that he, himself, had spanked “some of my children."

“I did feel guilty after I did it,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo explained the move by pointing at literature written by so-called child experts that states: “Children who are hit or spanked are more prone to violence.”

I don’t know about most Herald readers, but I for one had more than a few wooden spoons busted off my butt as a child. And while my bosses might complain of my temper (such as threatening to stab an overzealous copy editor in the eye with a pen), they have yet to see me engage in actual bloodletting.

The corporal punishment inflicted on me as a kid, or even just threatened with six scary words that put the fear of God in me every time - “Wait until your father gets home” - never prompted me to bring a fully loaded .9 mm into my elementary school classroom. An 11-year-old boy in Boston was busted with that very weapon in March.

And while at age 15, I might have been on my way to being a handful for my poor parents, I never fired off a fusillade of bullets and then pointed a gun at the cops chasing me after the shots sounded, which is exactly what one teenage boy allegedly did last week in Dorchester.

Look what happened on Friday afternoon: a 14-year-old, that’s right, 14, was arrested in Roxbury after he allegedly jabbed a 10-inch knife blade at his neighbor who had the audacity to ask him and his pals to move off the stairs in front of their home.

“I’m going to kill you,” the 14-year-old boy reportedly told the neighbor. Then he was cuffed by the BPD and charged with assault.

When I was 14, I wouldn’t dare talk back even to an adult - for fear that my father would find out - never mind threaten them at knifepoint.

“Sometimes a kid needs a good swift kick in the pants,” City Councilor Steve Murphy said after opposing Arroyo’s resolution - the only councilor to do so from the floor during the hearing. Yoon, Chuck Turner and Charles Yancey signed on.

“The Boston City Council should not be telling parents their kid doesn’t deserve a good kick in the pants,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s right.

The City Council has no business trying to regulate parenting. The body has had enough trouble coming up with solutions to the overwhelming litter problem on Hub streets.

“Our time is better spent talking about issues more germane to city business,” said City Councilor Michael Ross, who then added: “I got my share of spankings.”




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