There is a growing body of medical research supporting the potentially devastating long term effects of corporal punishment of a child. The lingering effects including emotional and behavioral difficulties and may include impaired brain development.

On top of that kids who are physically punished are disproportionately predisposed to violent behavior and thus involvement in the criminal justice system.

And then there are the parents, some of the them very well meaning, disproportionately African-American, who end up in the system as well.

Still, changing long held beliefs and practices around corporal punishment has not been easy. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne has made it a priority and his office is partnering with the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and others in sponsoring a conference entitled Cultural Context of Corporal Punishment: Keeping Kids Safe. Featuring national experts and interactive sessions, the conference is an opportunity to develop strategies for promoting positive, non-violent parenting.

Equally important is a community forum on corporal punishment the evening before the conference that will help inform conference presenters and participants.

This is an extremely important community conversation and we applaud Ozanne and other organizers for making it happen.