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August 27, 2003

Ohio Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Parents
HSLDA was founded to support parental rights, specifically the right of a parent to teach his or her own child at home. We constantly monitor legislation and court cases around the country that affect these rights.

One parental right that is coming under attack more and more is the right to administer reasonable corporal punishment. A recent Ohio case, however, upheld a parent's right to reasonably discipline his child.

In Ohio v. Adaranijo, decided on July 18, 2003, the court held that "Of course, the state has a legitimate interest in protecting children from harmů[but] nothing in the domestic-violence statute prevents a parent from properly disciplining his or her child." The court went on to say, "Courts should be slow to intervene between parent and child. The criminal court is not the place to resolve petty issues of discipline. The domestic violence laws are meant to protect against abuse, not to punish parental discipline."

This case arose from a dispute between two divorced parents over what was appropriate discipline. Unfortunately, HSLDA sees this situation many times. After a divorce, each parent generally has visitation rights, and many ex-spouses are just looking for an opportunity to cause problems for the other party. We advise our members in such situations to exercise wisdom. Divorce has become such a common and devastating problem that we want to take every opportunity to help our member families build and preserve strong marriages. That is why we offer our members a $20 discount on FamilyLife Today Marriage Conferences.

The Adaranijo case provides guidance for Ohio families that practice reasonable corporal punishment.