Child Abuse

The Satanic Temple’s Anti-Spanking Campaign Is Something We Can All Agree On

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student being punishedThis week a NYC-based Satanic Temple announced their anti-spanking campaign which aims to put an to end corporal punishment in schools, as well as other punishments they deem “psychologically damaging.” The campaign is titled “The Protect Children Project“, and it’s incredibly convincing. I will admit, when I saw that this was spearheaded by a Satanic group, I unfairly balked. But this is a legitimate organization and they have a legitimate concern. According to the project website, the temple:

 “encourages students to register at the project website, as the temple will then notify their respective school boards that their deeply held beliefs oppose physical and psychological abuses, including the use of corporal punishment, physical restraints, and isolation rooms as forms of punishment.”

The group also cites a census from the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education which claim there are more than 220,000 students who are struck during a given school year, with another 39,000 forcibly restrained. This report from the ACLU further illustrates how big of an issue spanking still is in U.S. schools and how it can negatively effect a child’s health and well-being. And I was shocked to discover that 19 U.S. states still allow corporal punishment in their schools. I guess I’m sheltered by living in the den of liberal sin that is New York City, but I thought this practice was a thing of the past.

According to a press release from the temple, corporal punishment, as well as various psychological forms of punishment, are against their core religious beliefs:

“One of the fundamental tenets of The Satanic Temple is personal sovereignty and the inviolability of one’s body and mind. Hitting a child or placing them in solitary confinement goes entirely against our beliefs,” says Lucien Greaves, Temple spokesperson. “The documents we have made available not only provide students with a notice they can give to their principal that explains their beliefs, but also informs schools that if they refuse to acknowledge the deeply held beliefs of students, they would be violating their civil rights. School officials could potentially face criminal charges if they disregard a student’s convictions. If students report to us that they have notified their principal of their religious views and they are physically or psychological abused despite that, it is our intention to intervene.”

I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment. I don’t think school officials should be allowed to spank students, regardless of their religious beliefs. If you did this crap to an adult you’d face assault charges, so why is it okay to hit our most vulnerable members of society? Louis C.K. eloquently sums up my beliefs on this matter:

“They’re the most vulnerable and they’re the most destroyed by being hit, but it’s totally okay to hit them. And they’re the only ones! If you hit a dog, they fucking will put you in jail for that shit. You can’t hit a person unless you can prove that they were trying to kill you, but a little tiny person with a head this big that trusts you implicitly? Fuck them, who gives a shit?”

The Satanic Temple plans to arm kids with a letter to school principals stating the child’s beliefs and how corporal punishment and isolation as punishment go against them. The site also offers kids and parents a fact sheet and activity pages. All in all their campaign seems reasonable and well-thought out.

(Photo:  Aletia/Shutterstock)