To Beat or Not to Beat: A Special Report

Contributors: Bijan Glenn, Herman Fogus, Sharae Griffin, Amira Hairston, Arianna Hayden, Ahjahnae LaQuer, Jacob Pierce, Pamela Stewart and David Wilson

The severe discipline force NFL Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson inflicted on his four-year-old son has turned a national spotlight onto the topic of corporal punishment. Peterson’s son sustained cuts, bruises and welts on his arms and shoulders from a stick. These injuries were photographed by police, and later obtained and published by TMZ, who also disclosed the Ray Rice videotapes of the football star battering his fiancee. Parents and children alike debate over the proper ways to discipline a child and the extent discipline should be carried out.

 

The photos have become an inadvertent visual reminder of child abuse and who it can affect. According to StopSpanking.org, 29 percent of Americans report being physically abused by their parents. That translates to 88,000,000 people. A study by the University of New Hampshire found that over 30 percent of children are spanked before they are one year old.

 

Journalism 305 students interviewed a number of people around Baltimore on beatings. Here is what they had to say.

 

 

‘YOU SPARE THE ROD, YOU SPOIL THE CHILD’

 

Ronald Jeffries

Ronald Jeffries

 

RONALD JEFFRIES

Accountant at T. Rowe Price, 24

 

“As a child I think that one of the things that my family fervently believed in was discipline. If you don’t discipline that child, then that child will grow up and become unruly and a menace to society.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Dorch

Karen Dorch

 

KAREN DORCH

Businesswoman, 53

 

“I’d rather have the mother [or] father discipline the child than have the law shoot them down in the street.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIRGINIA HALL

Clinical nursing assistant, MedStar Harbor Hospital, 62

 

“I believe that we spank our kids to teach them respect and how to abide by the law.  If we don’t teach them, where are they going to get it from?”

 

FROM ‘TAPS’ TO SOAP TO EXTENSION CORDS

 

DANY LOCAS

Receptionist, Planet Fitness, 19

 

“I used to get tapped on when I was little, but it’s worth it. I’m not in jail or pregnant or anything like that.”

 

JOSEPH DOUGLAS

Barber, 24

 

“I got hit with the belt and when we graduated from the belt, we got the fists.”

 

Shaquita Gause

Shaquita Gause

 

SHAQUITA GAUSE

Construction Manager, Baltimore City, 23

 

“[From] my mother, it was beatings; and from my stepfather, he was more so structured with his discipline. My stepdad would make me copy from the dictionary, copy from the encyclopedia and not going outside.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Javon Summers

Javon Summers

 

JAVON SUMMERS

Student, Coppin State University, 21

 

“If I was bad, my mom would tell me to stop and my dad would tell me to stop. I would get beat by a belt or whatever was close, but it wouldn’t be to the extent where I would need child services. It would never be through my skin.”

 

 

 

 

 

CHRIS GREEN

Aspiring building engineer, 24

“I used to get whipped with stuff way worse than [what Peterson did]:  Water hose, extension cords, etc.”

 

A CULTURAL THING?

 

 

ERIC DUBOSE, JR.

Journalism major, Morgan State University, 19

 

“I mean it’s not a black people thing. It’s white people, Spanish people, who beat their kids. It’s not just us.”

 

Donnell Taylor

Donnell Taylor

 

DONNELL TAYLOR

Theater major, Morgan State University, 19

 

“My mother’s side is Spanish and they are very strict, like you couldn’t even sit in the same room as adults.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHAQUILLE ROBINSON

Sociology major, Morgan State University, 21

 

“White people have leashes on their kids because they don’t beat them or discipline them.”

 

SHIRLEY STEWART

Analyst, National Security Agency, 50

 

“It depends on the parent how a child is disciplined. It has nothing to do with race. I am African American and have never beaten my children.”

 

Denasia Watts

Denasia Watts

 

DENASIA WATTS

Political Science major, Morgan State University, 19

 

“I don’t think whippings is a black thing. Its universal.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATILDA PARKS

Secretary, MedStar Harbor Hospital, 59

 

“I just wonder if the way that we spank our kids as blacks have to do with how the slave owner or master would beat the slaves in order to discipline them.”

 

 

ALTERNATIVE TO SPANKINGS

 

 

BRIDGETT MCKENZIE

Housewife, 43

 

“I’m a believer in using my voice to discipline my kid, my daughter.”

 

Mariah Bowen

Mariah Bowen

 

MARIAH BOWEN

Receptionist, Planet Fitness, 20

 

Like I’m gonna take away video games for a week or you can’t have play dates for this long because of what you did.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

DANY LOCAS

Receptionist, Planet Fitness, 19

 

“If you actually sit down and talk to me about the situation; tell me what I did wrong, tell me where I messed up, that is more effective than beating me.”

 

Gwendolyn Spencer

Gwendolyn Spencer

 

GWENDOLYN SPENCER

Senior, Coppin State University, 20

 

You can instill certain values in your kids without putting your hands on them. The reward, no reward method worked for me.”

 

 

* This story is accompanied by a more specific report. To read that report, click here.