Court drama in realm of absurd

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At the legislative level, a bill is in the works to make it an offence for a parent to spank a child. In a courtroom this week, a father was told he could not stop his 12-year-old daughter from going on a school trip, a disciplinary measure he had taken.
The former example, a Liberal-sponsored Senate bill that is now headed to the House of Commons, will certainly find champions and critics. On the pro side are those who claim it will help curtail physical abuse of children.
Those against argue there are already laws for assault, that reasonable force to discipline a child is a parental safeguard, and that such a law would unduly open parents to prosecution.
The latter example marks a decision made last week by Quebec's Superior
Court. The preteen, barred by her father from going on a three-day class trip, took the matter to court and Madame Justice Suzanne Tessier ruled on Friday in her favour. The father, obviously stunned by the decision, says he will appeal - in part, because he doesn't want to see other parents go to court over attempts to discipline a child.
As for the reasonability of the punishment in this case: a national newspaper reported the man first banned his daughter from going online after she posted photos of herself on a dating site. Parents tend to know about the risks involved doing that, thus the punishment reasonably fits the crime.
The girl then allegedly had a fight with her stepmother, thus the father's denial to let her go on the trip.
The girl afterward went to reside with her natural mother.
Lawyers for both sides conceded afterward that they don't expect a rush to the courts by children over disciplinary matters - that this reflects the child's unusual circumstances.
Actually, the circumstances are not that unusual. And now we have a precedent set in a court on what a parent is allowed to do as discipline.
This ruling enters the realm of the absurd. When courts deny parents the right of discipline they are doing the child no favour and, in fact, are compromising a secure upbringing.

Organizations: House of Commons

Geographic location: Quebec

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