Punishing Kids With Disabilities Is "Acceptable" To Nation's Highest
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 17, 2006
LISBON, PORTUGAL--The Portuguese Supreme Court ruled last Tuesday that it not only is legal to slap and spank children with disabilities, and lock them in dark rooms, but it would be "educational neglect" to not use these forms of punishment.
The case involved a staff member of an institution housing children with mental disabilities, who had been convicted of abuse and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
According to the Inter Press Service news agency, the high court ruled in her favor, saying corporal punishment is acceptable and that locking children in the dark is a normal form of discipline "by any good parent."
Disability rights organizations, children's advocacy groups, and Portugal's bar association condemned the court's ruling, calling it "disturbing", outrageous", "alarming" and "repugnant", among other things.
Humberto Santos, the president of the Portuguese Association of Disabled Persons (APD), said the decision reminded him of "the Middle Ages," and essentially gave caregivers permission to mistreat children that have disabilities.
Santos and others said that the European Court of Human Rights should review the ruling because it likely violates international laws.
"Green Light to Mistreatment of Disabled Children" (Inter Press Service News Agency)