By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
As a Child Injury Lawyers, we are often asked the following question: Does corporal punishment have a place in day care centers? The simple answer to this question is No. Most States prohibit any form of mental or physical corporal punishment in day care centers. In other words, there are specific laws and / or administrative code proceedings that prohibit this kind of conduct in day care centers. While some parents believe in corporal punishment and would acquiesce if a day care center implemented some forms of corporal punishment, it is typically prohibited. Of course, each State has its own rules, laws, and regulations. As such, the applicable provisions should be reviewed, considered, and enforced when there is an issue, concern, or report of corporal punishment taking place in a day care center. Often times, corporal punishment in a day care center is implemented without any concern or thought as to the physical or psychological impact of the child. Furthermore, many acts of corporal punishment are implemented without the knowledge or consent of the parents. In many instances, the implementation of corporal punishment is an indication of the immaturity of the care givers as well as their lack of training and supervision.
In Woodbride, Virginia, it was reported that a Prince William County Grand Jury indicted 2 former day care center caregivers on counts / charges related to the abuse and neglect children under the supervision of the day care center. Some of the alleged acts of abuse included the following:
*The day care center workers allegedly encouraged children to fight.
*The day care center works allegedly dunked the heads of children afraid of water in wading pools.
*The day care center workers allegedly gave the children Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
The day care center works subject to these criminal proceedings were ultimately fired by the day care center. You can read more about this Virginia matter at Former Day Care Center Workers Indicted on Charges of Child Abuse. Of course, a criminal case is not decided on the basis of a mere newspaper article or findings from the applicable social service agency. However, if the allegations are true and proven in Court, there are some serious consequences to treating children in this matter. In Virginia and the rest of the United States, criminal defendants are entitled to representation by a private criminal defense lawyer or the public defender’s office. The defendants have the right to defend themselves against the charges and allegations. Ultimately, the charges will either be dropped, a plea bargain will be worked out, or the case will be tried before a jury.
Back to the issue or topic at hand – corporal punishment. As child safety advocates and lawyers who represent children, it is our opinion that there is no place in any day care center whatsover for corporal punishment. It is an uneducated and thoughtless way to address behavior issues and only puts children at risk for serious emotional and / or physical harm.