A Texas judge has basically banned spanking after sentencing a mother Friday to five years’ probation after she admitted to spanking her toddler.
"You don't spank children today," District Court Judge Jose Longoria told a Texas mother of three in court. "In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don't spank children. You understand?"
The statement by Longoria to Rosalina Gonzales has caused a firestorm of controversy and what seems like a complete ban on spanking has ignited a great debate among parents in the U.S.
Many mothers say, "Spare the rod, spoil the child."
"We don't spank our child, but I think that ought to be a parent's choice," said Christopher Glaze of Mobile, Ala. "I don't want the government telling me how to raise my children."
Gonzales was arrested last December after the child's grandmother noticed red marks on the 2-year-old's behind and took her to the local Children's Hospital to get checked out, according to media reports.
Gonzales pleaded guilty to causing injury to a child, but prosecutors said the woman used her hand and did not leave bruises on the 2-year-old.
The Corpus Christi mother does not have custody of the two-year-old victim or her other two children, according to court records.
The children will reportedly remain with their paternal grandmother until the Department of Family and Protective Services agrees she is ready to have them back.
Longoria ordered Gonzales to five years’ probation, pay a $50 fine to the Children's Advocacy Center, and to take parenting classes after she admitted that she spanked her child.
Spanking is not illegal in the state of Texas.
Texas law allows the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child by the child's parent, guardian, or other person who is acting in loco parentis, according to the Texas Attorney General's website.
The website goes on to describe where the line between spanking and abuse might be.
The AG's opinion seems to say that it is okay to spank a child's buttocks if the parent uses their open hand. If using a brush or a belt and it doesn't leave a "bruise, welt, or swelling," it's likely okay.
In all 50 states, parents are legally allowed to spank their children. But in 29 states it's illegal for a teacher to practice corporal punishment, including spanking.
Opinions are divided on whether spanking is helpful or harmful to a child's behavior.
Public attitudes towards the acceptability and effectiveness of spanking vary a great deal by nation and region.
For example, in the United States and United Kingdom, social acceptance of spanking children maintains a majority position, from approximately 61 to 80 percent, according to a recent study.
Researchers and child welfare organizations oppose spanking.
Some studies have suggested that it does not benefit the child, and can encourage problems like anxiety, alcohol abuse, or dependence problems later in life.
To see spanking laws in your state visit: http://www.familyrightsassociation.com/info/spanking_laws.htm