Selected letters to the editor of the Standard Democrat re: Charles Jackson, Director of Public Safety, Missouri
Authors: Susan Lawrence; Robert Fathman, Ph.D.; R. K. Dentan, Ph.D.; Jordan Riak; Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D.; Debbie Haskins
January 22, 2004

Dear Editor,

We were stunned to read the article in your paper about the director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Mr. Charles Jackson. How can he ask for non-violence in the neighborhoods, while simultaneously telling parents to hit their children?? Non-violence begins at home! So many studies have shown the connection between hitting children and violent behavior when those children grow up. Don't people in Missouri know these basic facts?? Please read these articles:

"The Current 'Youth Violence"

"The Influence of Corporal Punishment on Crime"

BTW, God does not delight in little children being hurt! Please read these quotes:


Susan Lawrence


Sikeston, MO Standard Democrat, re: article 1/20/04 re: speech of Department of Public Safety Director, Charles Jackson

Dear Editor:

Public Safety Director Charles Jackson should have done his homework lessons on the speeches of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. before attempting to compare himself to this man of non-violence and peace. Director Jackson was quoted as urging parents to spank children as an answer to youth problems. Dr. King would be appalled. Dr. King's eldest daughter, Yolanda, has described her father [Miami Herald 4/1/2000] as "a gentle man who filled her life with laughter and who did not believe in spanking his four children."

Research studies consistently show that children who are brought up with corporal punishment are more likely to commit crime, not less likely. I wish Director Jackson well in his new position, but I also wish he would base his statements on facts, on solid research, not his own personal opinions.

Robert Fathman, Ph.D., Co-Chair
EPOCH-USA: End Physical Punishment of Children
office: 614-766-6688, or home: 614-798-0031
5805 Tarton Circle N.
Dublin, Ohio 43017

Dear editor:

I applaud the straight talk and sincerity of Charles R. Jackson. I agree completely with his goals. I therefore regret that, having studied how people come to choose violence or nonviolence for the past half century, I have to say that all the evidence we have indicates that his prescription for creating nonviolence in our neighborhoods is unlikely to work. Children, any parent knows, pay a lot more attention to what their parents do than to what their parents say. Any adult has had the experience of hearing themselves sounding like their parents on a bad day. So you can tell your kids that violence is bad all you like, but if you try to get them to behave by hitting them, you teach them that it's OK for strong people to use violence against the weak--as long as the strong person believes he has a just cause. And who doesn't believe that?

America is one of the few civilized countries in which people routinely hit kids. It's illegal in a lot of countries, just like hitting anyone else. I suspect it has something to do with the Civil War, because the people who continue the practice are mostly the descendants of slaves or of slave-holders. It's not a noble tradition. And, if it's OK to hit your kids when they are bad, why not your wife? We used to think that was OK, too.


R. K. Dentan, PhD

Re: "State director of DPS urges call to service," Standard Democrat, January 20, 2004


Missouri's Director of Public Safety, Charles R. Jackson, should acquaint himself with a few fundamentals of human behavior before using his high office as a platform for teaching the subject. All evidence points to the fact that public safety is not served by the spanking habit -- just the opposite. I see proof of this in the classes I teach at California State Prison Folsom. Virtually 100% of the men in my program were raised by spankers. When one of them insists "I was spanked and I turned out okay," I remind him where he is sitting. Spanking, switching, whipping, paddling, belting, licking, whoopin', or whatever else one wants to call it, does for a child's development exactly what wife beating does for a marriage. It teaches little boys that when they are grown and strong, it will be their turn to dish it out. It teaches little girls that getting slapped around is a normal part of family life. Those are not the lessons we should be teaching our children if we are serious about reducing crime and violence in society.

Jordan Riak

Executive Director, Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE), P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507-7033. Web site: "Project NoSpank" at Telephone: (925) 831-1661

OPEN LETTER TO Charles R. Jackson, Director of the MIssouri Department of Public Safethy

Dear Mr. Jackson: I am confused by your directions to parents regarding how to raise non-violent children.

You stated, "That while there are many youth problems, it's not all their fault. "Who are the parents? Who are the adults?" You advised parents to tell their children: 'Your (bad) attitude is not acceptable in my house and I will spank you.'"

Later in your presentation, you stated, "We have failed to reach back and help some of our young people, because we are too busy trying to be young ourselves. ...We need to grow up, become responsible. ...To truly embrace King's message, we should be non-violent in our own neighborhoods."

How can we teach our children to be non-violent in our neighborhoods while teaching children violence in the home? Spanking is violence. It is violence because it is a body boundary violation. It is violence because it teaches that 'might makes right.' It is violence because it is a betrayal of trust. Children have implicit trust of the parent who is their only source of comfort and protection from all harm. When a parent hits a child for punishment they are NOT protecting the child from all harm--they are harming the child in the worst possible way--violation of trust and protection from all harm. Telling a child who has been hit for discipline (spanked) to be non-violent is hypocrisy because the parents is saying, 'Don't do is I do, do as I say." Furthermore, it is a known fact that child learn more through modeling than they do through words. In order to create non-violence in the neighborhood we need to raise our children through non-violence in the home.

There are many excellent alternatives to raising children without spanking. I raised two children--a daughter and son as a single parent without spanking. They never used drugs or alcohol--they were never arrested for any reason. They are now 35 and 33 respectively and they are high functioning, law abiding citizens.

One last comment--It is a known fact that all prisoners have one thing in common. They all experienced being spanked and came from violent homes. If spanking created 'law abiding, non-violent' citizens then why is this the one commonality among those who commit crimes?

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, MSW, CCH, CRT
Genesis Consultants, Inc.
Metaphysical & Spiritual Tours--Sedona, Arizona, Italy
Published Books: Available at: 15% discount
-If I'd Only Known...Sexual Abuse in or out of the Family: A Guide to Prevention.

Mr. Jackson seems to have good intentions, but I believe he ought to be careful when he talks about spanking. What kids need is more family stability, two parents who are paying attention, more good consistent teaching, more love, more examples of integrity, more prayer, more laughter and fun with their parents, not more spankings. Spanking is hitting! It teaches a child that a person with power can get compliance from someone less powerful by hurting them. This is the same mentality that drives gang activities! Violence breeds more violence. Studies show that African American children are already spanked more than any other race of children in this country. Do we really want to continue a degrading practice that, for African Americans, originated with slavery? Itís time to eliminate anger and violence at the most basic level, in our homes, toward our little ones. Jesus taught kindness, patience and forgiveness, not hitting.

Debbie Haskins

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