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Ohio's Child Abuse Bill

Note: The following is not a "rant" per se. This was written as a template for a "Letter to the Editor" of a newspaper. Hence, it has none of my usual ranting and raving and profuse swearing and was written for use by NYRA (National Youth Rights Association), not specifically for this site.

Dear Editor,

I'm writing to you today on the issue of Ohio's newly proposed House Bill 265. In case you aren't aware of this bill, let me give you a brief explanation of it.

Ohio HB 265 is designed to grant civil immunity to people who work within the public educational system with regards to injuries that occur as a result of punishments. Essentially, this means that if a teacher were to strike a child, that child's parents would not be able to sue the teacher. In fact, it is unlikely that anything at all would be done to the teacher in question.

Your first reaction is probably much the same as mine. It's hard to believe that anything like this could even be proposed, much less passed. However, as hard as it may be to believe, it most certainly was proposed and, not only that, but this bill has already passed the House by a large majority. Now, it's waiting to be voted on by the Ohio State Senate. If the attitude of the House is any indication, it could very well get passed into law.

The next thing you may ask is "why?" Why on earth would they all be so much in favor of such a dangerous proposition? The answer is quite as you might expect from a government body: Money. House Bill 265 is proposed with the general idea being that the state of Ohio will be able to save money because their school districts won't be getting sued all the time. As incredible as that may sound, it's the absolute truth. So, the reasoning here is not so surprising as one might thing. It is, quite simply, a matter of capitolism over common sense and decency; a syndrome that governments seem to suffer from a lot.

The Ohio House of Representatives seems to care nothing for the children under their care. Perhaps it doesn't matter to them since kids can't vote. However, it would be a good idea for Ohio's leaders to remember that the parents of these children can vote. Almost no one in Ohio is in favor of this bill, other than the government. It makes one wonder just how much longer that government is likely to be around.

House Bill 265 supports a gross injustice toward humanity. Nothing is more precious to us than our children, yet the Ohio government would rather trample the basic human rights and security of their children just to save a few bucks. Don't be misled, though; this is very much a matter of civil rights and basic human decency.

Among the rights and freedoms that we as Americans hold so dear, is the inherent right that all human beings have to be free from harm and injustice at the hands of those in power. The Constitution of these United States grants us safe harbor against "cruel or unusual punishment." However, how much shelter are Ohio's children getting when their government is in the process of passing a law that would instead give safe harbor to those who would inflict cruel or unusual punishments against those children? House Bill 265, it seems, is a blatant violation of one of the major tenets of our freedom.

Also among our inalienable human rights, is the right to dominion over our own bodies. Children are the sole owners of their bodies and to allow an adult to harm that body against their will is a repugnant slap in the face of that right! Children, just like everyone else, have the right to deny access of any kind to their bodies. That includes denying those who would hurt them. As the system stands now, any adult who does not respect that right can be punished, however HB 265 would change that.

Among the multitude of problems with HB 265 is the lack of a sufficient definition for the word "punishment." The only concession this bill offers is that any "punishment" cannot cause permanent injury. Indeed, there are many horrible things that do not cause permanent injury. I can just see this bill being used by a pedophile to claim that his fondling of a child was meant to be a "punishment" and therefore cannot be prosecuted in a civil court. Or, what about the control freak who backhands a child across the face as his way of telling him to sit down and stop disrupting class? This person would go unpunished, if Ohio's elected officials have anything to say about it!

House Bill 265 applies to all public school workers. This means that anyone from the principal to a cafeteria worker or janitor could physically punish a student! Surely, even a person who is in favor of corporal punishment can see how dangerous such a thing could be.

While the debate over the ethics and morality of corporal punishment wages on, there is one fact that we cannot ignore. Whether corporal punishment is or is not allowed isn't the issue. The issue is that of being held responsible for one's actions. The educational staff of Ohio would no longer be responsible for the punishments they dole out if HB 265 is passed into law. These are the people who care for our country's greatest asset and the future of our world. Children everywhere deserve our respect and our protection, not our apathy, yet that seems to be all they're getting these days. The very existance of HB 265 is a brutal and barbaric example of that. It is in the best interests of all Americans, not just the citizens of Ohio, to see to it that those who care for and nurture the future of our nation are held accountable for their actions!

[next line for those outside of Ohio]

If you're thinking that this doesn't apply to you or your children because you don't live in Ohio, then think again. There is such a thing called "legal precedant" which means that, in a court of law, what happens in Ohio's legal system can be used as a positive example of why such things should be allowed elsewhere. If this law passes in Ohio, it sets a very dangerous precedant that will allow this to happen anywhere else.

[next line for Ohio residents]

If simply the existance of this bill isn't enough to frighten you, then consider this. Imagine that your son or daughter comes home one day and can't even sit down because of a paddling they recieved at school. Imagine that you examine them and discover bruises and welts on your child's bottom from a vicious "punishment." Now, listen to me carefully: If HB 265 has been passed into law when this happens, then there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it! Your child has been savagely abused by a school official and you can't do a thing! Why? Because the abuse was perfectly legal, that's why.

House Bill 265 is the government sactioning of chlid abuse. Apparently, allowing parents to defend their children in court costs too much money for the state of Ohio. Rather than solving the obvious problems that Ohio's school system seems to suffer from, the Ohio government would be happy to simply sweep this problem under the rug. Nevermind the children being abused. Nevermind the power hungry adults who can knock kids around at will. Nevermind the parents who want to protect their kids, but can't. None of that matters as long as the State of Ohio can save some cash!

I suppose if I ever become a millionare and want to beat kids, Ohio is the place to be! Just give a few million to the state government and all is well. It's hard to reach any conclusion other than that with the existance of HB 265 staring me in the face.


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