Guest Blog – Let’s Act on the Evidence

Let’s Act on the Evidence
A Letter to Education Policy Makers from Jordan Riak
September 15, 2011


 Dear Education Policy Maker:

Hardly a day passes without youth violence making news. From bullying at school to gang activity in the streets, the problem is pervasive. Most recently, rival teenage gangs traded deadly gunfire in the streets of Macon, Georgia, and the mayor there has vowed to find solutions. Macon is not unique.

May we share with you some practical advice in this regard?

We believe the best time to counter violent behavior among the young is before it starts. If we expose children from birth onward to positive, nurturing, nonviolent treatment, and to exemplary adult role models, we can safely predict that they won’t evolve into bullies or gang members. The consensus of child development science concurs with our position in this regard. Merely funneling young lawbreakers into the juvenile system doesn’t get at the root of the problem.

Please carefully consider the following recommendations:

  1. Add parenting education to the standard high school curriculum with a passing grade as a prerequisite to graduation. 
  2. Make parenting education mandatory for parents who are aid recipients.
  4. Promote legal reforms that will extend to children the same protections against assault and battery that apply to adults. 
  5. Share copies of our publication, “Plain Talk about Spanking” with child-related and healthcare-related organizations and agencies, including schools, hospitals, pediatric clinics, libraries, etc. It can be accessed online at and we furnish free hard copies upon request.

The benefits that will accrue from our joint efforts to reform harmful child-rearing customs and habits, and replace them with positive alternatives, will become apparent in due course. As Nelson Mandela observed, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

Please share this letter with colleagues.


Jordan Riak, Exec. Dir., Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education (PTAVE); P.O. Box 1033, Alamo, CA 94507; Tel: 925-831-1661; On the Web at