Proposed Spanking Ban Debated by MA Legislature

From yesterday’s Boston Herald on House Bill H3922:

Parents who spank their kids – even in their own homes – would be slapped by the long arm of the law under an Arlington nurse’s proposal to make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to outlaw corporal punishment … If signed into law, parents would be prohibited from forcefully laying a hand on any child under age 18 unless it was to wrest them from danger, lest they be charged with abuse or neglect.

This is a well-intended but bad piece of legislation that interferes with parental rights of discipline in the home. Spanking is not child abuse. (See related post for an explanation of the differences: To Spank or Not To Spank). The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 1999 that the current law clearly draws “a line between permissible physical discipline and prohibited abuse.” The hearing for H3922 is scheduled for today, at 10:30 am at the State House in Boston before the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

What do you think about this proposed ban? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Quick facts: In 1979, Sweden became the first country in the world to ban spanking. Corporal punishment in the home is currently illegal in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the Ukraine. (Source: Boston Herald)

Related post: To Spank or Not To Spank


  1. Sasha says:

    We are the last country in the Western world that allow adults to hit children. Even the Eastern European countries have outlawed hitting children. It’s no longer about the rights of adults to hit little people but what it says about us as a people. A society that hits children is an unintelligent,violent, unhappy,and punitive one and that describes our country to a T. Is it any wonder that our country is way down on the rictor scale for happiness?

    Spanking children should have been outlawed long ago.

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Hi Sasha,

    Thanks for posting an alternate view. I don’t believe spanking is the same as hitting a child. When spanking is done in a controlled manner with an attitude of love and concern, it is neither violent nor harmful to the child. I invite you to view the related post, To Spank or Not To Spank, for a fuller explanation of this view. And then feel free to respond either over there or back here if you wish.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!


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