Friday , December 3 2021

Child abuse climbs after Friday's report card


This photo on Jan. 7, 2015 shows public school buses parked in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo / Seth Perlman)

(AP) – Child abuse increases the day after school report cards are released – but only when children get their grades on a Friday, a Florida study suggests.

The curious discovery scary researchers, who had thought abusive could go up no matter what day the children got their grades.

However, their study of reports to a hotline for child abuse involving broken bones, burns and other confirmed abuse was found otherwise. An increase occurred only on Saturdays after a report card Friday. Although the total prices were small, there were almost four times more cases on Saturdays than on other saturdays. No clear link between report cards and abuse was found on other days of the week.

"Anecdotally, we know that many parents will spank their children or use physical punishment if they are not happy with their school work," said the lead role of the University of Florida psychologist Melissa Bright.

The punishment may be addictive when the children do not have school the next day and parents believe that injuries may be more likely to go unnoticed, the researchers said and noted that teachers must report suspected child abuse. Or it may be that serious punishment is less likely on weekdays when parents are busy focusing on report cards, says Bright,

But she acknowledged these theories are speculations and that the results are not a proof.

The study was published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

The researchers examined calls to a flood hotline for child abuse and school reports in brief in most of Florida's 67 counties during the academic year 2015-2016. Nearly 2000 cases of physical abuse in children aged 5 to 11, confirmed by children's welfare authorities, were included.

On average, there were slightly more than 0.6 cases of abuse per 100,000 children on Saturdays after a report card on Friday, compared to just under 0.2 cases per 100,000 children on other saturdays. The mean was less than one per day because so many days were included in the analysis. But in a state like Florida, with a population of school age of over 3 million children, this could amount to 19 cases of report-card abuse compared to 5 on other saturdays, researchers said.

Outside experts noted study restrictions, including no evidence that abused children had poor grades and no information about when the parents first learned about the children's grades. But they said the study was useful to emphasize that child abuse and bodily punishment are still too common even though prices have fallen since the 1990s. The prices were 9 per 1000 US children in 2016 compared to 13 per 1000 in 1990.

Dr Robert Sege, a Boston Pediatrician and Tufts University Professor of Medicine, said bad grades should be a time for parents to find out what causes their children's struggle. "There is no place for bodily punishment because it does not work and misses the score."

Sege is the lead writer of an American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Update released last month that recommends bodily punishment and spanking.

An editorial published with a study said the United States deserves a C-minus "for effective discipline strategies."

Replacing a report card friday can reduce abuse, the editorial staff said, "but it does not solve the bigger problem: it's still socially acceptable to meet a child to correct his behavior."

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