- SACRAMENTO, Calif - Calling
it a "disturbing invasion of family privacy," the Libertarian
Party of California today attacked a bill in the state Legislature that
would require children as young as five years old to be asked intrusive,
personal questions such as whether or not their parents spank them, keep
guns in the house, or watch violent television shows.
- The bill, AB 2068 by Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento),
passed the Assembly by one vote on May 25 and is pending before the Senate
Committee on Health and Human Services.
- "This has to be one of the most frightening bills
I have ever seen introduced in the California Legislature," stated
Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle. "Forcing children to report 'suspicious'
activity of their parents or neighbors is a strategy right out of the totalitarian
playbook, not something that should even be considered in a free and civil
- AB 2068 adopts recommendations made by the American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP) in a January 1999 Policy Statement entitled "The
Role of the Pediatrician in Youth Violence Prevention and Clinical Practice
and at the Community Level." In that paper, the AAP advises pediatricians
to screen children for risk factors indicating violence, such as:
- -- Whether the parents or family members have substance
- -- Whether the parents are employed
- -- Whether any family members are involved in gangs
- -- Whether the parents spank their children
- -- Whether the parents watch violent television programs
or keep guns in the home.
- Under Steinberg's bill, the AAP guidelines would be used
by the Child Health and Disability Prevention program, which is administered
by county governments for poor families under the supervision of the state
Department of Health Services. Nearly 2 million children are expected to
be screened under this program next year.
- "None of these questions is the government's business.
Children should never be put into the position of 'telling' on their parents
- especially poor children who may have no other alternative for health
screening than unpleasant, oppressive government programs," Hinkle
- "The Senate must kill this bill," concluded
Hinkle, "and strike a blow for every family's right to privacy. Let's
interrogate violent criminals, not innocent impoverished children.
Site Served by TheHostPros