To Spank or Not to Spank? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/29/07

To Spank or Not to Spank?

SAVANNAH, GA--Some parents believe a good spanking when children misbehave is part of learning and growing up. But some disagree and now in Massachusetts, their voice is being heard by lawmakers, who are considering a spanking ban.

Right now 29 states including Georgia, ban corporal punishment against children, but none ban parents from spanking. If passed, the Massachusetts law would change that.

Many parents in Savannah say they'd vote no. That's because they remember getting disciplined as a child themselves.

"I had to go pick my own switch," said Shawna Haferkamp.

"A hand, a belt, a switch," says Robin White, a mother. "Go to the tree, get your own switch and get whipped by it."

"With her I have a little paddle and I say do you want MeMaw to paddle you?" explains grandmother Ro Bozeman. "And she says, 'no MeMaw.'"

But in Massachusetts, spanking could be a thing of the past. The controversial bill, even has couples like Anthony and Robin White at odds.

"I say yes. Ban," said Anthony.

"Ban? Ban spanking?" asked Robin.

But most people have their minds made up. If their little beauties do something bad, a little discipline goes a long way.

"Everybody I know that has spanked, their children are better," said Amy Weiss. "I was spanked and I think I'm better than my child who is not."

"I spanked my granddaughter, I spanked my boys and they turned out pretty well," said Bozeman.

"Your parents you aren't going to hurt your child, you know the limits," explains Robin White.

"It teaches discipline. Respect," said Shawna Hafercamp. "How to behave, how to behave in public."

The threat of spanking improving behavior is still up for debate, both in the legislature and on the playground. But little Alex Bozeman is getting the message loud and clear.

"You know you have to be good right?" we asked her.

 "Yes," she replied.

Georgia law actually permits physical forms of discipline as long as there is no physical injury to the child. The law even allows schools to impose corporal punishment as long as it is not "excessively or unduly severe".

But Savannah-Chatham schools say they do not use spanking or paddling as a form of discipline.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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