Judge Amy's verdict on spanking
From the TV show, "Judging Amy," CBS, January 11, 2000


Judge Amy Gray: Dr. Reynolds. Have you made up your mind? Are you going to comply with my order to attend parenting classes, or risk losing custody of your child?

Dr. Reynolds: Judge Gray... I, um... I have decided to comply with your order, but I must say, I resent very much the state's intrusion into what should be a private family matter. Given the climate of the times, however, I, uh... I'm certainly not going to risk losing my child over some spurious definition of abuse. My wife Ginny and I are the best parents we know... And... And Seth... Is a wonderful kid, you know, and... And we take some credit for that. And as far as we're concerned, you can reason and cajole all you want... But a spanking... Is worth a thousand words.

Judge Amy Gray: Dr. Reynolds... Each year, 2,000 children die at the hands of their parents. Thousands more are permanently disabled. Maybe from your perspective, my mandate seems extreme. But every day I see children who have been seriously injured by their parents, under the guise of discipline. I'm sure you believe you would never injure Seth. But what you did to your son would be considered battery had you done it to another adult. In our society, we are not allowed to go around willy-nilly hitting people - unless they're our children. And then we call it discipline. Under the eighth amendment, we can't even take a strap to prison inmates, and yet there's no law against you hitting your son with a belt several times a week. He's 10 years old and less than half your size. Think about that. What are you teaching him about love? You can't teach your child respect without respecting him. Our children are not our property, Dr. Reynolds. I believe we as a society pay a heavy price for treating them as such. We have to do better. This case is continued for review and determination of whether you've complied with my conditions of custody.

Next case.

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