Child abuse

‘Asphyxiation, burns, bone fractures’: Child abuse climbs after reports cards on Friday: Report

A recently-published study conducted by the University of Florida suggests there’s a higher rate of child abuse after children bring home Friday report cards.

The study, published by JAMA Pediatrics, which focused on children in Florida, ages 5-11, indicated that the day report cards are distributed could possibly play a role in increased instances of child abuse. The study reported more calls to the child abuse hotline for burns, brokens bones and other forms of confirmed abuse on Friday report card day, and the following Saturday.

There were close to four times more child abuse cases on Saturdays following Friday report card day when compared with other Saturdays, according to the study.

The study also suggested punishment could possibly be more severe on Friday because students have the weekend to heal, and the marks are less noticeable once they return to school. Lead author of the study, University of Florida psychologist Melissa Bright, said that punishment could also be put off until the end of the week if parents are too busy during the week to dole out punishment to children who bring reports cards home earlier in the week.

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“Physical abuse included physical injury, bizarre punishment, asphyxiation, burns, bone fracture, or internal injuries,” the authors wrote in the study.

“Physical abuse is often accompanied by parental anger about a child’s behavior or failure to meet demands.” the study continued.

“Children who receive poor grades or negative remarks on their school report card may be at risk of physical punishment if their performance is not to the parent’s standard or if they are reported misbehaving, inattentive, or disruptive in the classroom.”

According to Dr. Robert Sege, a Boston pediatrician and professor of medicine at Tufts University, a failing grade doesn’t necessarily mean the child was slacking off or misbehaving. Instead, children struggling with subjects and class work they don’t understand can equal a bad report card. Schools may not have addressed learning issues that children are facing.

“There’s no place for corporal punishment for school failure because it doesn’t work and misses the point,” Sage said.

In the meantime, changing the day report cards are released could possibly reduce the amount of child abuse calls. Yet, it’s a short-term solution that doesn’t address the real problem, according to the report.

“It it will not solve the larger issue: It is still socially acceptable to hit a child to correct their behavior.”

Researchers did indicate, however, that there is no absolute, definite proof that bad report cards caused child abuse. More studies are needed with a larger sample.

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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]