A Pennsylvania pro-family activist is concerned about the
prospect of parents in the state no longer being allowed to spank
A commission set up by the Pennsylvania Legislature after Jerry
Sandusky's molestation arrest last year says "sweeping" changes to
state law are needed. Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant
football coach, is currently serving a state prison sentence for
sexually abusing children.
The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection says
the state should change how child abuse cases are handled,
revamp how child abuse crimes are investigated, and improve
training for those responsible for child welfare. The definition of
"perpetrator" would be expanded greatly, and penalties would be
harsher for people who do not report abuse.
While Diane Gramley, president of the American Family
Association of Pennsylvania, agrees that children need to be
protected from molestation and abuse, she feels the task force is
going too far.
"There may need to be changes made, or maybe we just need to
enforce existing laws better," she suggests. "The situation with
Sandusky -- that main problem was at Penn State. I think that needs
to be dealt with on that level, and I don't think they need to be
looking at sweeping changes to the entire state law. I think that's
going to be a major problem if they do that."
Gramley is particularly troubled that the group is recommending
that the state eliminate a requirement that children have to
experience severe pain in order for something to be classified as
abuse under the law.
"Does that mean that a parent will not be able to discipline
their child? Will a parent not be able to spank their child, or
even smack their hand if the child is doing something wrong?" the
activist wonders. "I see parental rights being walked all over if
this isn't done very carefully."
Overall, Gramley is concerned that Pennsylvania will follow
Delaware, which has already outlawed spanking. She intends to
express her concerns to conservative members of the state