"... It is still shocking to me, when people tell me that -- based on the cold, hard statistics -- the greatest potential threat to the average American child is the child's own family and environment... There's still a lot of folklore about "accidents," about fate taking a hand in this or that. In other words, a lot of folklore that relieves adults of responsibility. And changing that totally erroneous mind-set is our most serious challenge. We must not allow the adults of America to "get off the hook" that easily. We need to explain to them and convince them and get them to believe right to the depth of their souls that childhood injuries are no accident... It's time to be honest with ourselves about the way we treat children in general in our society... Children do not automatically get a fair shake in our society, and they should... I do not believe you can separate the phenomenon of childhood injuries from this issue of where children fit in our society. I don't think you can separate childhood injuries from the fact that far too many school systems in this country, with the approval -- tacit or otherwise -- of state law, allow severe physical punishment to be meted out to their students... I've read all those stories in the newspapers and in weekly magazines about the principals who have "cleaned up" their schools by physical force. And I am ashamed for them, for their communities and for any of my fellow Americans who think such principals have the "right idea." They do not. There never was a time when a major social problem was solved by beating a child. And there never will be such a time... For centuries adults have injured children and have lied about it, and other adults have heard those lies and then merely turned away... When a child gets hurt, we must no longer automatically perpetuate the mythology that it must have been the child's fault or that it was the result of another mysterious "accident." Instead of that, we must begin putting the blame where it belongs: perhaps on some other human being -- most likely an adult -- who did the wrong thing unintentionally or intentionally, but not accidentally..."
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