Articles Tagged with corporal punishment

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Public-School-Negligence-300x262Black’s Law Dictionary defined Corporal Punishment as follows:

“Physical punishment as distinguished from pecuniary punishment or a fine; any kind of punishment of or inflicted on the body, such as whipping or the pillory; the term may or may not include imprisonment, according to the context.”

Many people think that corporal punishment is a thing of the past. An archaic or old-fashioned manner of punishment that was once common in the school system.  As an elementary school student of the 1970s, I recall classmates coming back from the principal’s office with a face that was red like a tomato and tears flowing out like there was no tomorrow.  It was clear that these classmates underwent the punishment of a paddling.  Many people would be surprised to know that corporal punishment in the form of paddling and other measures is still in place.

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Public-School-Negligence-300x262In Oklahoma and other states, parents rely on schools and day care centers to be places of learning and safe havens. Unfortunately, far too many teachers, day care centers, administrators, and principals misuse their positions of responsibility and end up harming children under their care. At times, the harm results from a moment of agitation and irritation on behalf of the child care provider / teacher. At other times, the abuse, neglect, and / or corporal punishment results from a more systematic and calculated form of retribution or corporal punishment. Some school districts still allow for corporal punishments, while others strictly outlaw this outdated from of child discipline. If a child has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or corporal punishment, there may be a case or cause of action to pursue on behalf of the injured child.

A recent incident out of Indianola, Oklahoma exemplifies a scenario where a principal disciplined students using corporal methods in a school district that still permits punishments of this nature. News outlets reported that the principal of a public school instituted corporal punishment to  two children, ages ten and eleven, in the form of a paddle as punishment for arguing. The policy of the school district allows the school to “swat,” also known as spank, students as long as the school has permission from the parents to do so. In this situation, the parents felt the school went too far with the discipline because the children had bruises, lacerations, and welts as well as trouble sitting and standing after the discipline occurred.

While incidents of this nature may seem rare, the National Education Association indicates that nineteen states still permit corporal punishment, usually through paddling. According to statistics from the 2011-2012 school year, the National Education Association also asserts that approximately 163,000 students face corporal punishments annually. Alarmingly, statistics also reveal a racial disparity in the students subjected to corporal discipline in schools as well as a bias towards corporally disciplining students with disabilities. In some districts, students of minority races are 500% more likely to be struck than white students, even though these school districts tend to have more white students than minority students. Furthermore, students with disabilities are up to 67% more likely to face corporal punishment than other students in their school districts. Thus, corporal punishment occurs with some frequency in schools across the country and sometimes exhibits bias against protected classes of students.  See National Education Association – Corporal Punishment in Schools.

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Toy-Blocks-E-A-300x226In Nevada and other states, a child enrolled in a day care center should be provided with a supportive educational environment free from abuse, neglect, and corporal punishment. Unfortunately, far too many children are harmed by the very caregivers supposed trained and skilled to provide proper supervision for children at the day care center.  It should also be noted that many such instances go unreported, unnoticed, and essentially ignored unless somebody speaks out on behalf of the child.  Often, it is the parent that steps up to advocate for his or her child.
It was recently reported in Nevada that a day care center worker threw a child to the floor.   The child reported the incident to her mother who then demanded to see the video surveillance for the facility.  The video surveillance from the K.I.D.S. Academy located in Henderson, Nevada shows the child care provider first picking up the child by the arms.  The day care center worker then returns just seconds later and throws the girl more forcefully and the child’s face hits the floor.  Incidents like these can and often do lead to serious head injuries.   Without the push from the parent and the availability of the video surveillance, these incidents tragically get “swept under the rug” without any civil, administrative, or criminal action.   Once the video surveillance was viewed by the facility and the parent, the matter was reported to the Henderson Police Department which, in turn, arrested the day care worker for criminal charges of child abuse. You can read more about this story at Video Surveillance Leads to Arrest of Day Care Center Worker in Henderson Nevada. 
Similar to the majority of other states, corporal punishment and physical abuse are prohibited in licensed Nevada day care centers. Pursuant to Nevada Administrative Code – NAC 432A.400 Discipline – a licensed day care center has a duty to enhance a child’s behavior through positive guidance and redirection.  A day care center worker shall not under any circumstances inflict physical punishment in any manner on the child or verbal abuse or threaten the child.
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By David Wolf – Child Injury Lawyer
Building-Blocks-300x170In day care centers across the nation, parents rely on child care workers to provide a safe and nurturing educational environment for children.  For most children, the day is filled with activities, classes, and all around excellent care.  However, at some facilities, children are unfortunately the victim of abuse, neglect, and molestation.  Some child care workers just lack the training, experience, common sense, and patience to properly supervise children.  The local and state day care regulations should be followed.  Beyond the rules and regulation, common sense can go a long way in the proper care of infants, toddlers, and young children.
In most States, corporal punishment is outlawed or banned in day care centers.  Some day care workers still implement corporal punishment measures to supervise and / or punish children under their care.  Corporal punishment is typically refers to some form of physical punishment, assault, or restraint of a child.  It should be noted that many religious based day care centers are exempt from local and state day care regulations.  As such, corporal punishment tends to be utilized on a regular basis in some exempt facilities.  It should also be noted that if a child is injured as a result of corporal punishment to the point the marks are left or medical care is required – there can still be action taken against the day care center even if the day care center is exempt from the applicable child care rules and regulations.
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By David Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer

Duct-Tape-300x202In day care centers in Missouri and across the nation, children are unfortunately subjected to various forms of corporal punishment in day care centers.  Most states have a prohibition according to the day care center government regulations against corporal punishment.  Despite these regulations, some day care center workers, for some reason or no reason at all, subject a child to corporal punishment.

In St. Louis, Missouri, there was a lawsuit filed against the Zion Lutheran Church, its daycare, and its employees, for the alleged abuse of a four-year-old girl. It was reported that the teacher at the daycare wrapped the child’s legs in duct tape after saying “I have some shiny red duct tape with your name on it.” The child admitted to running around when she was supposed to be napping, which is said to be the reason the teacher put duct tape on her legs in the first place. After the tape was put on, another member of the staff told her the tape would be removed when she behaved, which shows it was intended as a means of punishment. When the parents addressed the situation to staff, the situation was laughed over, and comments were made about how hyper their daughter can be.  It was reported that the daycare teacher has been said to have used duct tape as a means of controlling a child with two much energy. As a result, this family’s lawsuit alleges false imprisonment and assault, among other things, and is seeking over $25,000 in damages.  It should be noted that many courts have jurisdictional amounts or thresholds. In other words, an action can be pursued in a particular court if the amount in controversy if over a certain amount of money.  As such, in many cases, it is difficult to determine from the pleadings alone the amount that is ultimately being sought by the plaintiff / family of the injured child.

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By David A. Wolf, Child Injury Lawyer

Toy Blocks E & AIn Minnesota and other States, working parents rely on day care centers so that the parents can provide for their children.  While parents, given a choice, would have one parent at home or a family member at home to raise the child during the tender years, the economic realities of life make it necessary to put a child in a day care program.  Some day care programs are excellent while others are operated by ill equipped and trained people who open a day care center for the sole purpose of making a living.  The substandard day care centers often fail to get licenses, fail to train their staff, and fail to look after the best interest of the child.  In addition to training of staff and maintaining a safe environment, there is something else that is needed in every day care center in the form of “patience”.  It is well known that children, especially infants, will cry and fuss.  Because of this, it does take a certain temperament, personality, and, yes, patience to properly care for a child in a day care center.

A bizarre set of facts took place recently in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It was reported that a day care center provider got fed up with her job and placed a child in a noose to hang the child. The day care provider then took off in a vehicle in a hurry and then got into an automobile accident that was reportedly her fault.  You can read more about these incidents at Day Care Center Faces Criminal Charges in Minneapolis Minnesota Following Hanging of Baby.

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By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Day Care Video Surveillance.001When a child is injured at a day care center, it can at times be a mystery as to how and why the child was injured.  This is especially true when a day care center work lies or hides acts of abuse, neglect, and corporal punishment.  Video surveillance, at times, captures the very acts of abuse or neglect inflicted by the very same day care center providers who have the legal duty to protect, support, education, and care for the child.  Most states prohibit any kind of corporal punishment and criminalize the acts.  As such, if a day care center work strikes a child, criminal charges can be brought against the day care center work; however, it should be noted that the criminal prosecution of a day care center worker caught on video hitting a child is not automatic.
Each incident or case is evaluated by the local law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office to determine if a crime was committed and if enough evidence can be presented to successfully prosecute the day care center worker.  If bad acts are caught on video, many people may assume that the day care center work is going to jail or prison; however, no assumptions or presumptions should be made on any particular case as to criminal prosecution.  Furthermore, it should be noted that the pursuit of a civil case is also something that needs further review by the parents and a Child Injury Lawyer as to the elements of the case and the practicality of pursuing the case.  The elements of a civil case or claim for day care center negligence, harm, assault, or corporal punishment are as follows:
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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Building Block - M - Day Care CenterIn Connecticut and other States, day care centers, schools, and summer camps should be safe havens for children. Unfortunately, at these very locations, children are subject to abuse, neglect, and corporal punishment. Let’s face it. Children, at times, will misbehave and fail to follow instructions. However, this is no reason for hitting or striking a child in a day care, school, or summer camp setting. In fact, there are no good reasons to justify the abuse, neglect, corporal punishment, or exploitation of a child. When a child is abused or neglected in a child care setting, there may be one or more legal proceedings that result from the alleged bad conduct of the day care provider. There may be an arrest or criminal prosecution in the form a criminal case. There may be a fine levied against the day care center or a suspension of the license in the form of an administrative procedure. There may also be a civil case or claim against the individual day care center provider and / or business for the injuries / damages suffered by the child. It should be noted that the pursuit of any one of the three types of cases are not dependent on each other. For instance, a civil case or claim can be pursued even if there are no criminal charges filed.

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By  David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury LawyeBlog

Building Block - M - Day Care CenterWorking parents and guardians rely upon day care centers to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children.  Unfortunately, at some day care centers, a day can be filled with neglect and abuse at the hands of the very caregivers responsible for keeping the children safe and out of harm’s way.  The truth is that many child care providers lack the training and financial motivation to do a good job.  Many child care providers are immature and just lacked the proper upbringing and maturity to provide the necessary care for children.  It is a known fact that children misbehave or do not follow all instructions.  This is especially true for infants and toddlers.  It is certainly an expected part of the job to deal with difficult children or good children who occasionally misbehave.   The child care provider needs to have patience, understanding, and a strong conviction to do the right thing and to act in the best interest of the child.  When a child care provider is accused of wrongdoing, a police investigation and criminal investigation may result.   Police and prosecutors are quite busy and do not pursue or prosecute every case or incident that is reported.   As such, many acts of wrongdoing may not be prosecuted if investigators do not believe that the injuries warrant OR if investigators believe that proof of the malicious intent cannot be provided beyond a reasonable doubt.
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By  David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury LawyeBlog

Building Blocks Glossy - P - Day Care CenterUnfortunately, spankings and corporal punishment are still prevalent in many communities.  It is a tradition that has been literally handed down from generation to generation.  While there may be some time and family history to spankings and corporal punishment, the fact is that most States ban such activities and disciplinary measures in most day care centers and child care facilities.  Some church based or religious based institutions may have an exception from such State regulation.  Even in circumstances where spankings and corporal punishment are permitted, there are still child abuse laws in place that make it actionable or criminal if the spanking or corporal punishment is excessive and causes physical marks and / or the need for medical evaluation and treatment.  Clearly, the best way to make sure that a child is not subjected to excessive corporal punishment is just to refrain from it completely.   Corporal punishment and spankings put a child at risks especially by an adult who does not fully realize the size differential and the force that is applied when engaged in corporal punishment or spankings. Furthermore, it should be noted that many day care providers are angry when giving out punishments which can lead a day care provider to be out of control and really cause significant permanent injuries to the child.

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