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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Essay

'Spank Your Child, Go To Jail'

September 02, 2000|JOEY BARNUM | Joey Barnum lives in Los Angeles

I've been a bail bondsman in L.A. County for 35 years. I just bailed out a father fbor spanking his son. California law calls it child abuse.

I asked his wife, "Why did they arrest him? Did the boy have blood or marks on him?"

She said, "No. He just spanked him and since my son cried so loud, the neighbors called the police. Next thing I knew, they had my husband cuffed and took him to jail and put a $50,000 bail on his head."

How ridiculous is that? This poor lady had to borrow $5,000 from her father to bail her husband out of jail simply for disciplining his own son. The alternative being, of course, jail time until court, which would've surely resulted in loss of employment.

What was the father supposed to do? Take the boy's ice cream or candy away from him and tell him not to be bad again? When I was a kid, all the kids got spanked. My father used to put me over his lap all the time and I deserved it. If they had called it child abuse in those days, my father would've spent much time behind bars. Not only did my father spank me, but I also attended Catholic school, where the nuns would use heavy rulers to slap the hands of children until they turned black and blue. Imagine how many nuns would have to be bailed out today.

I have three daughters and used my own discretion to spank when they were bad and ran into the street without looking for cars. Child abuse? Give me a break!

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