A satirical billboard urging people to “beat your children” has gone up in Amarillo, Texas with the stated goal of getting adults to do the exact opposite. It comes in response to multiple school districts in the state permitting paddling and other forms of corporal punishment in public schools.
If you visit the website promoted on the sign, you see what appears to be an advertisement for a belt with a buckle reading “fundamentalism.” By using that belt, the site suggests, you’ll be giving your kids the “gifts” of depression, lower wages, self-harm, domestic abuse, and a lower education — all of which have been linked to getting hit by adults.
Activist Daniel Vander Ley, who sponsored the billboard, says he hopes to start a conversation:
“Corporal punishment of adolescents by parents has been deemed a risk factor for the epidemiology of depression, suicide, alcohol abuse, child abuse and wife beating,” Vander Ley said.
Vander Ley says this research comes from the National Institute of Health.
“If we know the dangers, if we know how damaging it is to kids, why do we encourage it?,” he said.
He’s not alone in asking that question. Two months ago, The Satanic Temple also sponsored billboards in Texas urging adults to reconsider their discipline methods.
Vander Ley didn’t respond to an immediate request for comment regarding his affiliations or other details about the billboard, but if the sign helps put a stop to the use of physically hurting kids to teach them a lesson, more power to him.