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July 11, 1953

MISTREATED CHILDREN

JAMA. 1953;152(11):1044-1045. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690110058015

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Abstract

From time to time pictures appear in newspapers showing children who have been treated inhumanely by their parents. In a newspaper with a large circulation through much of the United States there recently was published a photograph of a 12-year-old boy with a chain around his neck. He had been chained to a chair by his father because he displeased this parent.

Such public display of children is not uncommon. Obviously it is newsworthy and may, of course, arouse local indignation so that punishment befitting the crime is effected. It does not, however, help the unfortunate victims. If a child is guilty of an offense against society he must expect to receive some punishment. If, on the other hand, he is subjected to mistreatment, especially if it is not his fault, he should not be exposed deliberately to the ridicule, taunts, and even well meant but cutting sympathy that follows

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