Thursday, November 3, 2011

YouTube Video Prompts National Conversation on Discipline


CHICAGO, Ill., November 3, 2011- In watching the video of Judge William Adams circulating around the internet this week we are reminded of several things. First, that we all have to take responsibility for our actions in relation to children. The Judge’s actions were wrong and he is no exception. Second, that we all play a role in the healthy development of all children and we need to ask ourselves collectively what role we can play in preventing incidents like this before they ever occur. Third, we understand why the judge’s daughter would keep this incident a secret for so long, but until further information is available, we are wondering how no adults in the community knew about this or were willing to take action; and how we can ensure this isn't the case in the future. Finally, while the actions caught on this tape in no way reflect what most of us would define, or defend, as discipline, this incident does provide us with the opportunity to discuss the long term impacts of corporal punishment.

Prevent Child Abuse America’s policy position on corporal punishment is that age-appropriate discipline may be necessary in school and institutional settings but that non corporal means of discipline, such as giving time-outs, explaining rules, or taking away privileges, have been shown to be more effective than corporal punishment. 

“This video should cause us to pause and ask a series of questions that can both educate and inform the American public on this contentious issue,” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America. “For example, what is the long-term impact of corporal punishment on a child’s development? And do children translate the use of this type of punishment as an acceptable means to control and manage others rather than providing more peaceful and more effective means of solving problems?”

We don’t know yet exactly what happened in this case. We do know it’s being investigated however, and that even though we expect adults to take responsibility for their actions, all parents are exposed to stressful situations. The question is what is in place to support parents in these situations and how can we ensure what’s needed is available?

The fact is, we all play a role in ensuring that innovative prevention strategies exist in the communities and neighborhoods in which we live. We also all play a role in children’s development and we know that teaching children violent discipline teaches them violence. More importantly, we know that it is not effective. Child development is the core of community development and community development is what drives economic development. We look forward to being able to discuss these issues as well.


Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide while recognizing that child development is a building block for community development and economic development. We believe that communities across the country are doing innovative things with great results to prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring, and what we need to do as a nation is commit to bringing this kind of ingenuity to communities everywhere. Based in Chicago, Prevent Child Abuse America has chapters in 48 states and 387 Healthy Families America sites in 36 states.

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