Parents in a Detroit suburb are being told not to spank their children in public. With a 5-1 vote last month, Madison Heights' city council adopted "Hit Free Zones" in at least 10 public areas in an effort to stop violence of any kind, including children hitting other children. But councilman David Soltis says spanking was forefront in his mind when he proposed the resolution, which comes with no penalty for violators, reports the Detroit Free Press. A former emergency medical technician, Soltis says he was stunned to learn how many children are hit by adults; 76% of adult males and 66% of adult females support spanking on some level, according to 2016 study by Childtrends.org, reports WFIE.
Signs at the library, police station, recreation center, and city hall aim to send a clear message to parents. But they aren't without detractors. "Current state law allows parents to spank their children, and I do not believe it is the role of the city to dictate how people discipline their children," says councilwoman Roslyn Grafstein, a mother of two who opposed the move. Councilwoman Margene Scott agrees, though she supported the resolution. In some cases, spanking children "can be the only way to get their attention," she says. Noting spanking has been linked to "negative outcomes for kids," a child psychologist suggests a reasoned discussion of bad behavior as an alternative. (Or follow this guide.)