I heard about this disturbing stuff at Butterflies and Wheels (in all cases, my emphasis):
Nearly 7,000 Virginia children whose families have opted to keep them out of public school for religious reasons are not required to get an education, the only children in the country who do not have to prove they are being home-schooled or otherwise educated, according to a study.
Virginia is the only state that allows families to avoid government intrusion once they are given permission to opt out of public school, according to a report from the University of Virginia’s School of Law. It’s a law that is defended for promoting religious freedom and criticized for leaving open the possibility that some children will not be educated.
I have no problem with homeschooling in itself, but I don’t see how a situation like this will ever end well.
Once parents in Virginia are granted a religious exemption, they’re no longer legally obligated to educate their children.
The statute does not allow exemptions for political or philosophical beliefs “or a merely personal moral code,” but the beliefs do not have to be part of a mainstream religion….
Yet again we have perverse privileging of religious belief over secular belief.
Now, I have no absolute proof, but it is virtually inevitable that girls will be the ones who will be denied a or deprived of an adequate education under this scheme of legalizing child abuse. How do I realize that? How many religions mandate the oppression/subordination of men? None (that matter). How many mandate the oppression/subordination of women? Most (that matter).
Denying education and choices to girls is child abuse. Here’s why (after the jump):
A new study suggests that substance abuse and depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are more common in children who were physically punished (without meeting the legal definition of child abuse).
From the abstract:
Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatment is associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.
CBC reports on a new study to be published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that physical punishment of children (such as spanking) has severe negative health consequences, and that the exemption in the Criminal Code that allows it should be repealed. The issue of spanking was covered by the Supreme Court in 2004, which allowed the exemption to stand.
Children who have experienced physical punishment tend to be more aggressive toward parents, siblings, peers and, later, spouses, and are more likely to develop antisocial behaviour, said Joan Durrant, of the department of family social sciences at the University of Manitoba and Ron Ensom of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.
Physical punishment is also associated with a variety of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and use of drugs and alcohol.
They noted that when parents in more than 500 families were trained to reduce their use of physical punishment, the difficult behaviours in the children also declined.
Although working to outlaw spanking is the correct move, one shouldn’t focus so much on corporal punishment that one neglects to target other forms of child abuse. There are destructive things that parents can do to their kids that don’t involve any hitting. For example, Clarissa has mentioned force–feeding. Another example is arbitrarily denying healthcare.
The title of this post is taken from a comment by Jake Squid at an old Pandagon thread.