Michelle Steinberg, letter to Eastern Arizona Courier
December 27, 2002

Dear Mr. King,

The physcial punishment of children must be stopped and we cannot in good conscience continue to allow it in the name of necessary discipline. Children can and do grow into happy, healthy adults who, with the benefit of positive modeling, raise their children affirmatively and positively and with respect.

I know. I am the parent of two teenagers who have grown into wonderful people of whom I am very proud and never once have they been the victim of physical force to "discipline" them. You should know that I am a single mother, having raised Sydney and Zachary on my own since they were 5 and 9. My daughter, now 18, is the recipient of a full, academic scholarship at NAU and is studing Spanish and Latin Culture, studied abroad at the age of 15 and was on a nationally recognized Mock Trial team in high school among her many other accomplishments and my son, an accomplished and award winning artist, actor and bass guitar player and will be a freshman at the Metro School for the Arts in the Fall.

I tell you this not only to brag about my oh so awesome kids but to reiterate through my own experience that children need, above all else, to KNOW that they are protected and can ALWAYS count on their parents to be their advocates, their caretakers, and can always trust that their hearts, souls and bodies will be carefully and vehemently sheltered and championed by them. We cannot EVER betray that trust, it is our job, above all else. How else can we grow secure, compassionate, kind and loving adults?

This is a serious issue in our schools and I want you to know that in the school district (Deer Valley Unified) where my kids attended K-12, used the paddle when my daughter started kindergarten, a year later they had banned the paddle from its schools and never went back. Principals and teachers there have found positive alternatives and no one sees the need to even consider bringing the paddle back. In fact, it has not come up at all in the last 11 years since it was retired. I have been involved in public education advocacy in Arizona for the last 15 years, both professionally and as a volunteer and I can tell you with absolute certainty that no good has EVER, nor will ever come from hitting a child.

Please rethink your positon as it relates to corporal punishment and Mr Lee's efforts to bring some awareness and free thought to your readers. Allow them to at least look at the positive side of raising children without physical pain and make some decisions for themselves. I know that those who themselves have been the victims of corporal punishment are the strongest supporters of such behavior, but ask yourself why? Why would you want to continue to cycle of violence from generation to generation when we know it is just not necessary and just not fair.

They are just kids, after all.
Thank you for your consideration,
Michelle Steinberg


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