It is a typical Monday morning as I get my son ready for school, having his clothes all laid out the evening before.  I get him out of bed to get him dressed as I do every morning. My little blonde haired son, big blue eyes, trying to fight back the tears, shakes his head “No mommy, I don’t want to wear that shirt today to school.”

“It is your favorite shirt, Spider Man.”

“No mommy.”

He goes over to his dresser to pull out a long sleeve shirt and hands it to me as his eyes fill up with tears.  I have seen that look so many Monday mornings. The routine has become too familiar.

As I slowly take his shirt off, our eyes fixed on each other, both fighting back the tears that are welling up in our eyes, trying to hide the bruises. Bruises that he got on his weekend visit with someone that is supposed to love him.  Without him saying one word to me, I know where those bruises came from.  They are all over his little body, some big, some small.  As I finish getting him dressed, he gives me a big hug and whispers in my ear, “thank you mommy.  Now no one will see my boo boos.”

I give him a big hug and say “I love you.”

This is what I think about when I read anything that normalizes or endorses corporal punishment. As long is corporal punishment against children is used, it will be over-used. The state officials who I’ve turned to in order to protect my son have told me again and again “corporal punishment is legal in New York.” What is considered “excessive” is a matter of opinion.

It’s the State’s opinion.
It’s my son.

And he’s hurt.


By Destiny Roberts