Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Educate, Don't Punish

I heard another story about a mom leaving her child in a hot car. The mom received a punishment from the authorities. I imagine that the punishment will cost her money and time, money and time that she could have used to care for her child. Yet, she did leave her child in a hot car.

Many, many years ago a loving relative of mine left a baby in a hot car. She was so busy taking care of many children and others, that she forgot the child was in the car when she left her other children at a caretakers and traveled to attend an appointment. Fortunately the child was fine and it was a lesson learned.

When I hear of parents leaving their children in cars, I am often reminded of this loving and kind relative. Had she been given with a financial or time punishment that would have greatly compromised what she could do for and with her children, however had she been educated, that would have helped her family.

Hence as we rethink policing in the modern age, I believe that whenever possible we should first educate rather than punish. For parents who leave their children in cars accidentally or unknowingly, there should be an education session about why this is a bad idea, and both parents and children should be invited to the session so that parents don't have to pay for childcare.

Often in the paper, I notice people getting punished due to their ignorance. If ignorance is the cause of the misdemeanor we should try to educate first rather than punish with money or time. If these education programs are expensive however, then perhaps part of the punishment should be the payment to attend the education session(s).