Opinion

Court rules wooden spoon spanking not child abuse

wooden spoon
Photo Credit: Zoe Harrison

Old Italians across the land are rolling their eyes after learning that a California appeals court unanimously ruled Tuesday that its not abusive to whack your child with a wooden spoon.

In all seriousness, the Sixth District Court of Appeals in San Jose overturned a child abuse determination that social workers and a lower court judge found against Veronica Gonzalez for a wooden spoon spanking that left some bruises on her unruly daughter in 2010.

“The appeals court said the spanking came close to abuse, but that social workers and the lower court judge failed to consider the family’s entire circumstances,” the Associated Press reported.

Those “family circumstances” involved the Gonzalez’s end-of-the-rope frustrations and concerns about their 12-year-old daughter’s “failure to attend many of her classes or do her schoolwork, the friends she hung out with and the lies she told to her parents,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The daughter admitted that her parent’s typical punishments, grounding and taking her cell phone, hadn’t worked. And family members testified that spankings in the Gonzalez home were rare.

Although Gonzalez was not charged for the spanking, the county Department of Social Services filed a child abuse report that a lower court upheld.

However, the appeals court overturned that determination saying the social workers and the lower court failed to address what a parents right to “reasonably discipline” their child.

According to the Associated Press article via Fox News:

Nothing in the record suggests the mother should have known she was inflicting bruises,” Justice Conrad Rushing wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel. Rushing continued that “the spanking was entirely the product of a genuine and deliberate disciplinary purpose, i.e., to arrest troubling behavior patterns exhibited by the daughter.”

“We cannot say that the use of a wooden spoon to administer a spanking necessarily exceeds the bounds of reasonable parental discipline,” Rushing concluded.

993308_581917825193793_1257501598_nThe court ruled that the child abuse report must be thrown out or a new hearing must be held that introduces all the circumstances leading up to the spanking.

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