Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Ninny-Nanny State in Action

The Ninny-Nanny state I wrote about yesterday is not limited to the United States and Canada. Americans often look to California to spot new trends that will work themselves east. Let’s look this time at New Zealand where the next phase of the Nanny state is in full bloom. How long after the Nanny state comes fully to America will we lose the will and the means to defend ourselves?

It has started
New Zealand Conservative, October 28, 2007

Front page of today's Sunday Star Times: School dobs mum to CYF for smacking son's hand. There were several interesting aspects to this case:

1. The mother says her family feels traumatised after a visit from CYF and later (for a separate incident), by three policemen. The policemen questioned (interrogated?) her child separately. I wonder if that was without a third party witness? She feels she has been labeled a "child abuser" for a simple smack on the hand.

2. The mother was in favour of the changes to s59. Obviously, she bought the line that this law change was around stopping violent abusers from getting off serious abuse by a legal loophole. It wasn't.

3. She did not want to be named because she 'fears losing her children'. There were a few notable cases in Sweden where parents said they had been threatened with losing their children if they made any aspect of the case public. It is likely that those that will speak out are going to be in the minority. We can expect this theme of blackmailing parents by threatening to remove their children for unfavorable public attention will continue here.

4. We can see that it will not take much for people to 'dob in' parents for a minor smack, and this in turn will create the climate of fear. She was dobbed in by a school teacher when the child said he got a smack, and a neighbour. Had the child been 'educated' that a smack is a bad thing, so he thought he could use it to gain attention, or as an excuse, not realizing the implications?

5. Ruth Dyson, Associate Social Development Minister believes the CYF intervention was not a result of the law change, but 'reflected greater community sensitivity to child abuse'. Firstly, note how a smack on the hand, that leaves no mark, is equated to child abuse by Dyson. Also, reflect that the law change encourages zealots to report such infractions.

Over time, there will be an increase in cases where the punishment of removing children from basically good families will far outweigh the "crime" of physical discipline. Will we learn of these cases however? Will parents be forced to remain silent for fear of never getting their children back?

The first place to start to reverse this trend is in our public schools, most of which have long since become the asphalt jungle we recoiled from way back in the 1960’s. No teacher ever put a hand on me when I went to public schools; no teacher needed to use physical punishment on a student then because they knew, and the kids knew, that any word of misbehavior and the parents would land hard on their kid. A teacher today knows that this is no longer true; that today’s parents either don’t care at all, or else their little darlings can never do anything wrong.

In addition to my own two boys, who caused no problems, I had a stepson who could be a trouble maker. We put him in a small country high school and, in front of him, told the huge man who was the guidance counselor that we would go along with whatever he chose to do if the boy got out of line. There were no further problems. We should pass laws providing principals and teachers with complete immunity from criminal and civil liability unless serious, permanent harm comes to a student, and, in all public schools, we should reinstate ungraded rooms where paddling is an acceptable punishment. When a student seriously misbehaves, he should immediately be assigned to the ungraded room until he shows he can behave.

Those who are horrified at what this course would do to the self-esteem of students who cause trouble should focus their concern on the students who want to learn and on the teachers who want to teach. We have pandemonium in far too many classrooms where teachers are going through the motions because they have too many pupils who have no fear of the system or their parent(s) and are there only to disrupt the class and the process.


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At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lunatics abound, including those who think a slap on the hand is child abuse, those in Newton, MA and Centenial, CO who see Halloween as offensive to Christians, as well as those in Puyallup, WA who see it as an affront to witches.


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