Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Harris (Correctly) Calls "Popular, Pervasive, Controversial"

It's in my head...this story...this story about Lydia Schatz...who died earlier this month at the hands of parents who were using a parenting style taught by Michael and Debi Pearl. I can't get it out of my head.

The methods espoused (nationally distributed by the Pearls) are, as Lynn Harris of Salon calls them, "popular, pervasive and controversial". I want you to focus on the word "controversial". I want you to know that their methods need to be held up to the light of day, by ordinary people, by people who know with the first reading that there is "something not quite right" about their method of child training.

Thanks to the child training methods of the Pearls, Lydia Schatz is dead. Seven years old. For mispronouncing a reading word. According to local news media Lydia was held down by her mother and "whipped" by her father. Not just once. Not just 10 swats with the 1/4 plastic plumbing line. No! Lydia was whipped multiple times over a several hour period. Tortured. The "mild" effect of that supposedly ideal whipping instrument (as espoused by the Pearls) was over the top. The tissues in Lydia's body, the tissues under the skin, were damaged so severely that her organs shut down. Lydia died that night.

Admittedly, the Pearls do not advocate whipping "to death". But they do advocate whipping to compliance, to submission, to whimpering. Beginning with 10 swats and continuing until that compliance, submission, whimpering appears.

Kevin Schatz and his wife, Elizabeth Schatz, are currently being held in the Butte County Jail in Oroville, California. According to the local news they face homicide charges in the death of their adopted daughter, Lydia, and face other charges in regards to injuries to another daughter, Zariah, and injuries to a son.

Again, read this article by Lynn Harris at Salon.

Also, read a post by Paul Mathers here.

Read Laurie Mathers here.

And see what TulipGirl has written here.



ce_squared said...

This makes me so angry! As someone who was disciplined with corporal punishment and as someone who is a mother of 2, I abhor the notion of hitting a child -- no matter what! When someone hits an adult who can defend themselves, they can be arrested for assault and battery. But when you hit a helpless child, some people call that "discipline." Well, I think it is evil. Why in the world would you EVER hit a helpless child? You're just teaching them that violence is OK and that it is okay for anyone to violate their person like that. This has to stop.

Kelly said...

I've yet to see anything about this anywhere other than in blogosphere. This should be major news!!

The more I read, the more it haunts me.

WhiteStone said...

Kelly, it is in local California news.

Mrs. Spit said...

Perhaps, even more than anything, as Christians we need to stand up and call this what it is:
- Sinful
- Abusive
- Evil

S. Etole said...

how very tragic and heartbreaking ...

Debby said...

I cannot stop thinking about it myself. I just can't get the thought of it out of my mind. The Pearls may not espouse beating a child to death, but they have written a book that can and will be used to excuse abuse. Michael Pearl writes about whipping a neighbor child with his belt. And then smacked the child two more licks until it stopped crying. He seems to believe that this makes a child happy, because children want to please. His discussion on abusive husbands and molesting husbands is enraging.

Pilgrim Mommy said...

As a mom, Christian, and homeschooler, I am horrified by this news.

Bill said...

Well, Whitestone, I can't make a comment because I would fly off the handle and say something despicable about the Pearls, who don't deserve even to be cast before swine, I fear.

Debbie said...

I am just sickened. And angry. And I just don't know what else to say.

John said...

This is awful. It makes me want to cry. It also makes me want to hug my children.

Sheri said...

I'm not a fan of home schooling for many reasons. Isolation being one of them.