Panama City News-Herald from Panama City, Florida on June 27, 1974 · Page 9
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Panama City News-Herald from Panama City, Florida · Page 9

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Panama City, Florida
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Thursday, June 27, 1974
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Page 9
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I A Society Dilemma NEWS-HERALD. Panama City, Fla., Thursday, Jane'!», 1OT4 Page 9A ; Child Abuse PHILADELPHIA At any given moment in this city, a child is being so badly neglected or abused by his P atents he may eventually die. erhaps of strangulation, or torture, or cutting, or pressing, or stomping, or sexual assault. In the case of eight-year- Temple University Hospital old Robert DuBose, it was recently weighing only 33 starvation'. He was brought to pounds, DOA. Hospital offi­ cials said he had apparently nor eaten well for months. Police said he has been regU' larly locked in a' room at home without aid. comfort or adequate nourishment. His motherland father have been; charged with homicide. , The Immediate public reaction to such news is outrage directed at the parents/ This Is human and under* standable, Statistics on child abuse are inadequately kept, but a conservative estimate Is that 700,000 children are abused annually in the nation, and at least 60,000 die. Whatever the true numbers, the public is entitled to wonder what kind of fiends would perpetrate such horrors and degradations on small, helpless kids; yet the full truth of the matter is that this same outraged public must share in the guilt for battered children. This is a nation which believes so deeply In the sanctity of parental authority that In a very real sense, society does everything bill light the cigarettes which are so often pressed out on the stomachs of Its children. "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of- the child." says Proverbs 22:15, "but the rod of correction shall drive it out." The majority of Americans follow this advice and will not Interfere when others follow it, even to excess. The case of Robert DuBose is a good example. The people of Philadelphia had ample opportunity to step in and save Ihe lad. The schools knew he was a habitual truant, the welfare representatives knew he was strange and sick, some neighbors even guessed he was being abused - but no one intervened. There are several explanations, which together bolt down to this: the strongest law of the land Is. "Momma Knows Best;" as one Dubose neighbor explains, "1 thought something was funny. But I figured, man, it's their business." To a large extent, it's true, family matters in America are "their business." Neither the home nor the community could long stand if each private activity was made public, if every time'the citizenry wanted it could barge through the front door of household business. Yet child advocates are beginning to question the historic closed-door policy concerning discipline. You Can Two of These Vents on your Root lor Only 88 'Beat-the-Heat' Low Prices! Gef the Equivalent of ONE-TON COST-FREE COOLING! 12-in. 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Reg. $7.99 Masonite Hardboard Bone5.99 Reg. $8.99 Masonite Hardboard Mocha6.99 Reg. $10.99 Natural Birch Plywood ,.8.99 Reg. $10.99 Antique Birch Plywood. .8.99 Reg. $11.99 Masonite Envoy ........9.99 Reg. $11.99 Golden Walnut Plywood 7.95 (Simulated Woodgrain Finishes) Matching Pre-Finished Mouldings! SAVE 300! JMQ SAVE 300! 4 6 g Reg. $1.49 Casing I ... Reg. $1.99 Base" • lenath 9/i6x2-ln.x7-ft. Ien 9 ,h '/ ? x2VHn.x8-ft. ' • 8ngm CEILING TILE sq. It SEE WEST'S COMPLETE SELECTION OF WINDOW AIR CONDITIONERS TOO 5,000 to 24,000 BTU Including High Efficiency Models! WEST'S LOW PRICE! Lightweight tiles, sold in 2x4- jt. panels. Insulates and soundproof tool ^ PRICES $ START T LOW AS In his book, "Birthrights," psychologist Richard Parson points out that "The use of physical violence has been eliminated from our attempts to correct the behavior of adults, tt is even illegal to use force against animals. Yet, ironically, it is legally applied in the most cruel and abusive ways to children." Indeed. Bob Johnson of the Dallas, Tex., school system says that corporal punishment was administered 6,000 times in that city's high schools last year, 14,000 times in junior high schools and 8,000 more in the elementary grades. "It's up to the principal what 'measures are taken. Usually the kids are swatted with a belt, or a board, sometimes just with the hand." immunity from prosecution as a manifestation of an underlying citizen sympathy. Not that people like child beaters, but that they understand the beater's motives. "Kids are not the easiest people to get along with," says one Philadelphia social worker, "what parent or adult has not wanted to swat a brat at one time, or another?" Hence some sentiment that abusers are merely frustrated disciplines gone out of control. Whatever they are, however, the abusers need help In recent years a consensus has been building that most brutal parents are sick, not criminal, thus in need of psy chiatric or medical rehabilitation. To this end a number of groups, including SALE PRICES IN EFFECT 3 DAYS ONLY - HURRY! Schools are not the only institutions practicing such abuse. The questionable concept of "in loco parentis" — substitute parental control is incorporated in the programs of most children's organizations and shelters. Boy Scouts get cuffed. Mental patients are spanked. Incarcerated delinquents are often bandied about as punching bags. And rare is the home where the parents are thoughtful enough to employ alternative measures to lickings; "We get kids in here with horribly bruised butts," says a resident at New York's Bellevue hospital. "It's nothing to see blood drawn." Most often, of course, the corporal punishment leads to little else than bruised behinds. But according 15 David Gil, professor of Social Policy at Brandeis University: Common sense suggests that whenever corporal punishment is widely used, extreme cases will occur and children will be injured. Quite frequently acts aimed at merely disciplining children will, because of chance factors, turn into serious accidents." Moreover, Gil believes that the social acceptance of corporal punishment provides the permissive climate in which genuine child abusers are created and thrive. And the abusers do thrive. Seldom are they exposed for their acts, rarely are they reprimanded. Some psychologists see their virtual several very promising Parents Anonymous organizations, have formed to provide treatment. Jail is a caretaker arrangement," says child abuse expert Dr. James Kent. "And you can't tie the tubes of every potential. So the only thing we can do is work on their problems." So much for the abuser then, but what about the abused? If he's really hurt, he winds up in the hospital, or maybe a foster home. But if he's not broken, if he's only socked around now and then by Momma Knows Best, he will most likely survive and grow up as fast as he can so he, too, can be a giant, he, too, can have power, he, too, can start knocking the children around. BARBS By PHIL PASTORET Littering is permissible only if you happen to be a she-kitty. So far, drumming up in* terest in the nation s bicentennial is making about as much noise as beating a bass drum with a wet noodle. We've never broken any records — but are about to start - with those belonging to the kid next door. Boyd Brothers, Inc. OFFICE SUPPLY STORE 425 E. 15th Straat Will be Closed for Annual Inventory FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1974 Customers for Printing may enter (Friday only) by Employees Entrance in back of building (north side). Boyd Brothers, Inc. (425 E. 15th Street 763-1741 Panama City, Florida

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