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Teenagers, Theft, And Corporal Punishment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/17/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 194 times Debate No: 92821
Debate Rounds (4)
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In our story today a pastor catches two boys ages 13 and 15 stealing from the collection plate. The boys' father pleads with the pastor not to report the incident to the police and each boy will get a whipping when they get home. The pastor tells the father whipping the boys isn't a good idea and he'll be contacting the police

The father stomped out of the pastors office, grabbed the boys, went home and administered the whippings. Meanwhile the pastor contacted the sheriff's office and reported the theft.

Did the pastor do and say the right things? I say he did and will take that side

Four Rounds


Your story is just one unreliable example, but I will attempt to rebut it.
The Pastor got back his stuff and caught them thieving, didn't he? Why he needs to be a jerk and report it? He could have asked for extra money, or simply given them another chance. Now, after being reported, the teenagers would have a criminal record all their lives and as soon as they show it they will be getting the odd-stares. They may not even get jobs in the city. Furthermore, serving the term of punishment (15-30 days, I think) they will miss out school and fall back on education. There is only 3/12 probability that it will be in the holidays, and an even lesser chance that the punishment would end in the holidays as well.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank for agreeing to accept the challenge.

You state the pastor shouldn't have contacted the sheriff's office. We don't know from the facts presented in my opening argument why the father pleaded with the pastor not to report the fact. We might infer these boys have been in trouble with the law before and is anxious as to what may happen to them if they end up before the Judge agree. If they have been in trouble with the law before there is an increased the boys will be placed in the custody of the state. But it is not likely to be 15 or 30 days in jail. An indefinite term in a juvenile facility probably a group home is what is likely not jail.

Now the father took the boys home and gave them each a whipping-- a spanking that is. Now one could assume the man didn't believe the pastor would be calling the sheriff's office, or that he is pretty stupid, or hard headed. or this community whippings are acceptable. Maybe he is not a very good father and is afraid he will lose custody.

There is another possibility and this is the boys first criminal offenses--delinquent acts since their juveniles. Maybe the pastor could have let it go and let the father deal with it. But he didn't. If they are only first time offenders and there are no problems in the home or say at school here is what most likely will happen. Keep in mind this isn't a serious offense.

1. The boys will be released back to the custody of their parents unless they complain of abuse -- not likely -- then they may be placed in a shelter care place pending a child abuse investigation.

2. The boys will have a juvenile intake hearing at which the charges will probably be dismissed with a warning and perhaps some kind of remedial counseling. However there will be no court adjudication of the charges. If there is a child abuse case that will be pursued in juvenile court as a CINA (child in need of assistance) matter

3. If it is a CINA case the judge will decide if the boys have been abused or neglected and if so the judge will then decide if the boys should be removed from their home if they haven't been already. Placements could be with extended family members, foster care, or in a group home. The matter of the theft could be a factor in the placement decision

I understand there were only very minimal facts presented in the opening. So you and I have to speculate and infer to fill in the holes. Again thank you for debating me.

If you want to make more simple it's basically this as to the theft and the pastor calling the police.

There are two reasons why young teenagers do such things. One, they're kids who are testing boundaries and will stop once they're caught and dealt with. The second is they have problems at home, at school, or in the community; and it's a way of reaching out for help. Either way the pastor is doing the right thing by reporting the incident


"You state the pastor shouldn't have contacted the sheriff's office. We don't know from the facts presented in my opening argument why the father pleaded with the pastor not to report the fact."
He pleaded because no decent parent wants their children to have a criminal record and get troubled by the police.
" An indefinite term in a juvenile facility probably a group home is what is likely not jail."
There is limited internet access and very few of them allow good computer games, it is but a softer jail. And even then it interrupts and lowers the quality of education.

"There are two reasons why young teenagers do such things."
Yes, one is a lack of money and other is a prank or just for fun. Your reasons are illogical, preposterous and unrealistic. No kid wants to mess with the police, and if they have problems they would reach out for help through talk rather than steal. Stealing is a hostile act, certainly I will never understand if a monkey steals from me he is asking for help in the jungle.

Whipping may or may not set the kid straight, but it is better than getting caught like a criminal. Being a criminal is matter of shame, humiliates the child and reduces self-confidence. And as for the consequences you listed, it matters from country to country and depends on the severity of the crime. If they stole a licensed gun from the pastor and were about to shoot, they will be sent to juvenile correction facilities, which is only slightly less worse than jail.
Furthermore, in every school children steal stationery. Now shall I report my friend since he lost my pen after borrowing it? Wouldn't it be better for the parents to handle it, or no one to interfere at all? After all, even if its a parker, I certainly won't go to the police saying "Sir, the kid at my school stole my Parker and refuses to give it back".
Debate Round No. 2


If the theft involved a firearm it would raise a legitimate concern about public safety. For the pastor not to report it to law enforcement could be a serious a serious dereliction of duty. On the other hand if the theft was of a more mundane variety such as stealing stationery then the pastor using discretion to not report it is more reasonable.

But there is the other part of the question- the whippings. To some the mere word whipping means a near certainty of abuse. I wouldn't go that far but nevertheless a good possibility of abuse or of it turning into abuse clearly exists. The pastor telling the father whipping the boys wouldn't be a good idea sounds to me as good advice.

Further in adolescence the use of corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool tends to be ineffective resulting in the need to increase the severity to where it becomes abusive. In addition to being generally ineffective it is also often used inconsistently and irrationally-- which also raise the risk of it becoming abusive.


The pastor shouldn't report the firearm theft as well as teenagers' are often curious about such things and term it "cool". I think we must focus more on solutions than on punishment, and give the person a chance to live. A teenager may simply want to see if the guy really has a gun or not, or whether the bullet really fires like it does in the movies. How can we blame little children for it.
As for whippings, sometimes some physical punishment is needed to remind the child of the gravity of the situation. Suppose if the dad had just said "don't steal, it is bad" versus "don't you dare steal ever" and give a little beating, wouldn't the child remember not to steal for a long time? Whipping sounds like a too cruel punishment though and I would limit it to scale beatings and simple hand-to-hand. There was a time when teachers had a stick to beat you, would you call that abuse? I must admit it motivated some students to study harder, even if in fear nonetheless. It's not like many students have the apt for learning these days. Once you come in middle school, you don't feel like acquiring much knowledge anymore. These days some students have the guts to stand up to the teacher and not do any assignments despite all sorts of threats. Wouldn't the stick be a quick solution?
Debate Round No. 3


The notion kids fooling around with hand guns should be treated as nothing more than adolescent curiosity strikes me as at least a little irresponsible. Even more irresponsible is for them to be allowed to find out if they're real. The most dangerous way for a child to find out if it's real is to try to do it themselves.

As for the whippings I am not against the use of corporal punishment. But I also understand the risks and limitations of using it.


Well, basically teenagers shouldn't be reported because their brain is still developing and they are usually reckless. Whippings shouldn't be given as they are too harsh and draw blood, and people would report the father for ill-treatment of the boys. Whippings can physically impale the person for at least a week.
I hope next time we can give more directions to the debate, as this has become more of a discussion. Anyways, good debating!
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by bearski 4 months ago
To answer you the question doesn't suggest the parents shouldn't discipline these boys. Only that what may be severe corporal punishment is questionable. And as for the theft: Are you contending only the family has responsibility there and not the state?.
Posted by David_Debates 4 months ago
So, in other words, you believe that discipline should be decided by and give by the discretion of the State, and not the family or parents? I'd love to debate you on this one, just want to clarify.
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