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HSLDA Is Promoting Parents' "Right" to Spank

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post this here.  I realize it's an advocacy kind of post, but as it relates to a homeschooling organization, this seems the best place to put it.

 

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is very actively (in the media and through its political lobbyists) advocating against a bill in the Delaware Senate that would make it illegal for parents to strike their children, even if the child does not sustain an injury.  On its website and Facebook page, HSLDA is framing spanking as a "parents' rights" issue.  The comments from HSLDA members on the Facebook page are truly disturbing to anyone who believes that children should be safe from physical assault in their own homes.

 

While homeschooling members of mothering.com may be drawn to HSLDA because of its work to improve the political climate for homeschoolers, they may not be aware of the HSLDA's stance on other issues, including spanking.

 

If you are an HSLDA member, please reconsider allowing your money to be used to promote spanking in the name of homeschooling.

 

Thank you! 

 

Edited to add link:  www.hslda.org/hs/state/de/201206260.asp


Edited by Luckiestgirl - 6/28/12 at 11:48am
post #2 of 56

I don't understand why they would need to get involved in something like that? Seems like it would only take away potential support for their core issue. Do they not have enough to do with promoting HS?

post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 

In short, they want to be the sole voice for homeschoolers in the country, and they want support for the particular version of homeschooling they espouse.  In their world view, this includes the unfettered right to spank and no gay marriage.  They have amassed a great deal of power, and have in some cases hampered the efforts of state and local homeschooling organizations to advocate for themselves.  I won't post any more links, but spend thirty minutes on google, and exploring all the niches on the HSLDA web site, and you'll get a better picture of things. 

 

I'm sharing this because it has come to my attention that many homeschoolers have no idea what all HSLDA is involved in.  HSLDA has a very well organized web site with a nice guide to state homeschooling laws, and it's easy to think, "Wow, this organization does so much for homeschoolers!"  I think their guide to homeschooling laws Is handy, but that it is basically used as bait to attract new members.

post #4 of 56

Personally, I thank you for posting this, whether it ends up being considered appropriate here or not. 

post #5 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

In short, they want to be the sole voice for homeschoolers in the country, and they want support for the particular version of homeschooling they espouse.  In their world view, this includes the unfettered right to spank and no gay marriage.  They have amassed a great deal of power, and have in some cases hampered the efforts of state and local homeschooling organizations to advocate for themselves.  I won't post any more links, but spend thirty minutes on google, and exploring all the niches on the HSLDA web site, and you'll get a better picture of things. 

 

I'm sharing this because it has come to my attention that many homeschoolers have no idea what all HSLDA is involved in.  HSLDA has a very well organized web site with a nice guide to state homeschooling laws, and it's easy to think, "Wow, this organization does so much for homeschoolers!"  I think their guide to homeschooling laws Is handy, but that it is basically used as bait to attract new members.

 

While I whole-heartedly agree with everything you've written (which explains a bulk of why I am no longer a member and parted with a full refund of my membership fees upsidedown.gif), I actually DO believe that spanking is a parental rights issue (just so that someone doesn't read this and think that I'm just against everything about the organization) and I think parental rights are being stripped in a disturbing and profound way.  Of course, HSLDA will back-door many profoundly conservative issues into being a homeschooling issue.  They not only believe they represent the bulk of homeschoolers, but the bulk of christians in this country (which they do NOT).  irked.gif

 

And having sat on the board of a statewide homeschool association I can tell you that they do NOT like for anyone to engage with their representatives without them being involved--even in the interest of building bridges and open communication.  There is more than one instance of them introducing more restrictive homeschooling legislation into states believing that they are serving the larger community.

 

Oh, and they will not represent families who have any kind of special ed issue as homeschoolers (which is the only reason I joined them in the first place).

post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

 

Oh, and they will not represent families who have any kind of special ed issue as homeschoolers (which is the only reason I joined them in the first place).

 

Thanks for this tidbit. THIS would be the only reason I would join also.

post #7 of 56

Well I think it is a parental rights issue- wether or not we agree with it.  Parental rights are being stripped from us and we too often look the other way.  The emails I get are in favor of passing the Parental Rights Amendment and NOT signing the UN Rights of the Child treated which supersedes all state and federal laws according to our constitution.  HSLDA is not sending out emails praising spanking....  

 

They do help if you have an IEP (which is what our special education plans are- at least in Iowa)- I know firsthand.

post #8 of 56
Thread Starter 

heatherdeg, I'm trying to work this through.  I think you are saying that you are against spanking, but that you think it should still be legal for parents to spank.  Do I understand your position correctly?

 

My position is that children should be protected from domestic violence just as their parents are.  I don't see why it is wrong, and illegal, for a husband to smack his wife, but okay for a parent to smack his or her child.  

 

In 2008, HSLDA lobbied against a California bill that would make it a crime to strike a child with an object.  That is, they defended a parent's right to hit a child with a stick, rod, or switch--provided that doing so didn't cause an "injury."

 

Increasingly, I see homeschooling itself not as a parents' rights issue, but as a children's rights issue.  There's a huge difference, IMO.

post #9 of 56

I'm 24 years a homeschooling mom, and a resident of Delaware.

 

The essential issue here is that this completely misrepresents what the bill says and does. Here's a press release from our Attorney General's office (a man, btw, who came back from Afghanistan and was asked to serve in the US Senate but chose to concentrate on putting away a child predator) 

http://www.delawareliberal.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Biden-Legislators-Establish-Stronger-Protections-for-Abused-Children.pdf

 

This is not a bill about spanking, and it sure as heck isn't a bill about homeschooling. It makes it more clear how child abuse is defined, because current guidelines have required what they sometimes refer to as the 'broken bone" standard in order to prosecute people who hurt children.

 

it's not easy to get anything passed in our legislature. They bicker over "good morning" sometimes. This is an important bill and I want HSLDA to keep their pointy nose out of it.

 

Brooke, mom to Drumlin, 23, Tegan, 16, Rowan, 14, Tiernan, 11, & Leannan, 9.

post #10 of 56
Thread Starter 

What the press release from the attorney general does not make clear (if I understand the bill correctly from a number of different news reports I've read) is that the definition of "injury" is being broadened to include "pain."  So if a parent uses a belt as corporal punishment, and there are no bruises or obvious tissue damage, it is still considered abuse if the child is subjected to pain. 

 

I, too, consider this abuse.  The HSLDA objects because they think parents should be able to spank, even with implements, as long as they toe the very fine line of inflicting pain without causing physical injury.  Apparently what much of the civilized world considers abuse, HSDLA wants to call spanking. 

 

Definitely nothing to do with homeschooling at all.

 

I find it ironic that the HSLDA makes a big deal about how parents' constitutional rights are being infringed upon, but then they form a spinoff organization to promote the passage of a permanent change to the Constitution via the Parental Rights Amendment.

post #11 of 56

HSLDA sells its services as a legal insurance firm. They say that they will represent you if you have the government come after you in a homeschooling related issue. In Delaware, there are darn few of those. Okay, they had budget cuts in 2008 that removed our free drivers ed, (as well as that of other non-public schools) but they put it back. There's nothing anyone here needs them for, unless they want to support their other agenda. . So they gin up controversy.

post #12 of 56

Home Education Magazine has taken issue with HSLDA for years.  Here's a link to an article from 2001 that stated their position.  Let's see if it works:

 

http://homeedmag.com/HEM/185/sotch.php

 

I am reviewing this issue between the magazine and the organization that went on for years, but this is my beginning.  I never really knew much about the organization except this.

post #13 of 56

I agree with other posters that it is a parental rights issue. There are lots of things that are legal to do to children that cause them pain and/or harm, at what point will the law have overstepped? 

 

I think about the spanking issue like vaccinating. It's painful for the child at the time and has a risk of long term damage but parents still do it because they believe the pain and risk are justified by the potential benefits. Parents who spank their children know it will cause pain and it carries the risk of long term emotional problems but they still do it because they believe it will benefit their children in the long run by showing them when they're doing something they have been told not to do. 

 

To the poster that commented on how it's illegal for a man to administer corporal punishment to his wife. An adult woman can carry on a conversation with her husband during which he can explain why he would prefer she not do something. He doesn't need to physically correct her because she is capable of understanding things that children can't and adjusting her actions accordingly. A child might not be able to understand when things are explained to them. Some parents feel it makes more sense to use corporal punishment to get the child to understand. How many parents have explained something gently a thousand times only to have a child misbehave anyway? Part of that is immaturity, even a very immature child will understand not to do something again when it means they will experience pain.

post #14 of 56

I have to say I think it's pretty scary for a homeschool organization to be taking these kinds of positions.  I can't help but think that there are kids out there who are homeschooled so that nobody can get a good look at them.  I am sure that is few and far between, but it was the first thing I thought when I read the OP and I generally have good feelings about homeschooling.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

I agree with other posters that it is a parental rights issue. There are lots of things that are legal to do to children that cause them pain and/or harm, at what point will the law have overstepped? 

 

I think about the spanking issue like vaccinating. It's painful for the child at the time and has a risk of long term damage but parents still do it because they believe the pain and risk are justified by the potential benefits. Parents who spank their children know it will cause pain and it carries the risk of long term emotional problems but they still do it because they believe it will benefit their children in the long run by showing them when they're doing something they have been told not to do. 

 

To the poster that commented on how it's illegal for a man to administer corporal punishment to his wife. An adult woman can carry on a conversation with her husband during which he can explain why he would prefer she not do something. He doesn't need to physically correct her because she is capable of understanding things that children can't and adjusting her actions accordingly. A child might not be able to understand when things are explained to them. Some parents feel it makes more sense to use corporal punishment to get the child to understand. How many parents have explained something gently a thousand times only to have a child misbehave anyway? Part of that is immaturity, even a very immature child will understand not to do something again when it means they will experience pain.

 

On this logic, though, I'm not sure why we'd be able to say anything about how a parent treats their child as long as the parent was of the belief that it was somehow good for them.  Would the same people believe that sexual abuse is okay, but only if it's main purpose was to teach the child how to have sex?  Or maybe a parent could use sex against the child instead of spanking  --  it must be pretty awful for a child to be sexually abused so, even a very immature one would understand not to do something again if the punishment was say, intercourse.  Obviously you are not saying here anywhere that you'd endorse that view, but I'm not sure why not.  Is it because you believe there's no "injury" involved in spanking?  And would that mean that if that line was crossed  --  child got bruised once (or how would you measure it?)  --  then the spankers would be suddenly abusers?  

 

I also think that if you really want your wife (or husband) to behave, hitting sounds like a better bet than talking.  It sounds like you're saying as long as someone can't follow your reasoning, it's okay to hit them until they do what you want, what if its just faster and easier to get your spouse to do what you want by hitting even if she can understand what you are demanding of her?  What if your spouse doesn't agree no matter how many times you tell them how you like the bed made (or whatever)?

 

I used to have a friend who beat her husband pretty seriously and frequently (nearly blinded him) and he was a freaking model husband.  He worked hard, made a lot of money, and then was home by six and in charge of all the kid duties for the rest of the night, and got them up in the morning and bathed and dressed and dropped off at school.  All of the talking in the world would not get my husband on board with that division of labor.  

 

Maybe all of the above is completely beside the point, because what's really important is just that the government set no limits for what parents can do to their kids?  I don't think I trust people enough to sign up for that.  

post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

I have to say I think it's pretty scary for a homeschool organization to be taking these kinds of positions.  

 

 

Maybe all of the above is completely beside the point, because what's really important is just that the government set no limits for what parents can do to their kids?  I don't think I trust people enough to sign up for that.  

The argument for or against corporal punishment *is* beside the point here.  

 

I think the point is in your first statement.  What is HSLDA (or any HSing organization) doing including this under the umbrella of their organization?  Even though I have been somewhat aware of the controversy connected with this group (like the link above) I have been completely unaware that their advocacy includes issues such as these.  Time to do some studying.  This is trouble.

post #16 of 56

The HSLDA link states that this law infringes on a parents right to direct the upbringing of their child, which has often been used as an argument for homeschooling by many HSing advocates.  In that sense it fits, but in my mind it is a bit of a stretch.  Still working on it......

post #17 of 56
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

The argument for or against corporal punishment *is* beside the point here.  

 

I think the point is in your first statement.  What is HSLDA (or any HSing organization) doing including this under the umbrella of their organization?  Even though I have been somewhat aware of the controversy connected with this group (like the link above) I have been completely unaware that their advocacy includes issues such as these.  Time to do some studying.  This is trouble.

 

This was, in fact, my reason for posting.  I'm glad that some of us are digging deeper into this issue.  Maybe we can keep this thread going to share information, links, etc.?

 

The arguments for and against corporal punishment are relevant only in the sense that this is mothering.com.  While I anticipated that someone might say, "Well, of course I think spanking is terrible, but I think making it illegal isn't a great idea," I didn't anticipate someone actually providing an extended justification for spanking itself.  I honestly didn't think anyone who felt this way would be hanging out on mothering.com.

post #18 of 56

What I'm reading is from the archives of HEM, admittedly they have had decades of disagreement with the organization.  The several columns I have read include information about their efforts to make military recruitment of HSers easier, exemption from taxes, exemption from federally mandated tests, parental rights amendments, all of which would actually reduce the freedoms to homeschool that they claim to protect.  The issue has always been that HSLDA is advocating with the notion that they represent homeschoolers, when in fact, they represent some homeschoolers.  They seem to be the largest, most active voice in (the other) Washington.

 

Does anyone have any good links outside this source?  I have always respected HEM, but clearly I need something else, out of fairness.

post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

heatherdeg, I'm trying to work this through.  I think you are saying that you are against spanking, but that you think it should still be legal for parents to spank.  Do I understand your position correctly?

 

My position is that children should be protected from domestic violence just as their parents are.  I don't see why it is wrong, and illegal, for a husband to smack his wife, but okay for a parent to smack his or her child.  

 

In 2008, HSLDA lobbied against a California bill that would make it a crime to strike a child with an object.  That is, they defended a parent's right to hit a child with a stick, rod, or switch--provided that doing so didn't cause an "injury."

 

Increasingly, I see homeschooling itself not as a parents' rights issue, but as a children's rights issue.  There's a huge difference, IMO.

 

I don't have to be for or against spanking to believe it's a parental rights issue.  And ftr, I distinguish between spanking and beating (not that it may matter, but there were references to broken bones, etc. here).  After reading every line, I did not support the "children's bill of rights" bill that NJ proposed back in 2009-ish as it made the state the de facto parent of every child instead of me.  Sorry, but at some point, a parent has to have a right to parent.   And rubidoux's statement that she doesn't trust people not to set limits for parents is disturbing... because with that mindset taken into legislation could have EASILY had my son removed on MULTIPLE counts:

 

* when I chose not to medicate him for what they said was pre-asthma/Reactive Airway Disorder

 

* when I chose not to medicate him for absence seizures when they insisted that "the next one could make him a vegetable" (that was at 2yo... he is now 8yo and even the absence seizures are gone--but the doctors swore up and down at the time that wouldn't be possible)

 

* when I opted to homeschool my kid in the autism spectrum against every educator's mindset that this was directly opposite what is needed for children in the spectrum

 

The list goes on.  I'm fortunate to live in a country that still (to some extent) honors that I have the right to make those decisions even if someone else feels that I'm failing my child in a way that will make him suffer (and he breathes clear as day), make him a vegetable (when in fact he doesn't even have seizures of ANY kind anymore), or make him incapable of functioning socially (and, btw, if you met him today you wouldn't even know he had a diagnosis unless you spent a few hours with him tyvm).

 

Those decisions under a "child's bill of rights" law would've been handed over to people who presumably could make decisions in the best interest of the child... as if the parent could not.  Because the parent's idea of what's best doesn't sit right with you.

 

It starts with spanking or vaccinating or any other single thing.  So no, I don't have to agree with spanking to believe it's a parent's rights issue as much as vaccinating, homeschooling, medicating, or any other thing that a parent is responsible for providing or doing in the process of raising a child.  *I* don't trust the SYSTEM to make those decisions.  Sorry.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

The argument for or against corporal punishment *is* beside the point here.  

 

I think the point is in your first statement.  What is HSLDA (or any HSing organization) doing including this under the umbrella of their organization?  Even though I have been somewhat aware of the controversy connected with this group (like the link above) I have been completely unaware that their advocacy includes issues such as these.  Time to do some studying.  This is trouble.

 

yeahthat.gif   The whole point here is that HSLDA stretches the boundaries of what they use their membership fee/income for in the name of homeschooling.  And for people who are members and unaware of this, they might also be unaware of what position is being taken on those issues.

post #20 of 56

I agree that is/ might be a parent's rights issue.  Other sensitive topics are within the realm of parental authority and rights that I disagree with philosophically (teaching intelligent design, gender-specific roles, allowing kids to watch endless hours of Sponge Bob Squarepants orngtongue.gif) and sometimes vehemently (indoctrinated racism, marrying children, etc.)  I'm sure--I actually know-- that many parents would see homeschooling (especially unschooling) and not vaccinating as serious parental abuses.  Somewhere in that group of true awfulness is a line that needs to be drawn (like marrying a 12yo) and others, as offensive as they are that should be legally tolerated, if not personally and morally.  That's a hard statement to put forth, because one risks being accused of agreeing with those things, but nothing could be further from the truth.  

 

So, another question to ask in this situation is, where on that line does spanking fall?  We will probably disagree.  Should it be legislated?  And should a homeschooling organization advocate against such legislation on the grounds that it infringes on parental rights?

 

Here is an article about parent's right in regards to HSing and a parental rights amendment that HSLDA was "lobbying" (or not) for.  I wish this was recent enough to touch on this spanking issue:

 

http://homeedmag.com/HEM/264/parental-rights.php

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