A Spanking that Causes Bruises and Welts is Not Necessarily Child Abuse

          In the case of King v. State of Florida, Mr. King, who was a school administrator, was charged with child abuse based on the following facts:

 

          "One of the disciplinary policies at Charlotte Regional Christian Academy is the use of     corporal punishment, and the parent of each enrolled student signs a form consenting to the administration of the punishment. King testified that he spanked the eight-year-old student two times on her clothed buttocks with a wooden paddle as a punishment for cheating and lying. The paddling took place in a classroom away from other students and was witnessed by a school volunteer and King’s wife. The student suffered significant welts and bruises on her buttocks as a result of the paddling, but did not require any medical treatment. Although her mother testified that the student had become withdrawn after the paddling, there was no evidence that she suffered any discernible impairment in her ability to function within her normal range of performance and behavior."

 

          Florida's Second District Court of Appeal concluded that Mr. King's actions did not constitute child abuse because "spankings that result in significant bruises or welts do not rise to the level of felony child abuse."  However, the court did state that King may have committed the crime of contributing to the dependency of a child.

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