Old Order parents asked to take parenting course by MCC Manitoba

In exchange for getting their children back

August 9, 2013 | Web First
From a story in The Canadian Press

Manitoba social workers want parents of an orthodox Mennonite community to promise they will only spank kids on their behinds and not use objects, such as belts, as punishment.

They also want assurances that children will not be injured or left with marks on their bodies.

The parenting rules and discipline guidelines are spelled out in a recent letter from the government's Child and Family Services Department to members of the tiny community, where Mounties made arrests over several weeks this summer.

In July, RCMP said they had arrested a total of 13 people for assault offences, some including allegations that boys and girls were struck with cattle prods, whips and leather straps. The province also apprehended all the children living in the community, about 40 of them, who ranged in age from infants to teenagers.

A court publication ban prevents identification of the children. No trial dates have been set and the allegations have not been proven in court.

See more at http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/mennonite-parents-want-kids-back-willing-to-abide-by-discipline-rules-lawyer-218853051.html

See also: 
Old Order Mennonite community in turmoil (July 8, 2013)
Order community waits for children to return (Oct 23, 2013)
Efforts continue to reunite Old Order families (Dec 24, 2013)
Survival of Old Order community at ‘a critical stage’ (March 3, 2014)
New school greets returning children (July 28, 2014)
Old Order leader sentenced for ‘child torture’ (Sept. 15, 2016)

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I hope that the children can return to their families as soon as possible. Obviously there need to be some serious changes, but children are the lifeblood of a community, and my studies on Indian Residential School history have shown me that the removal of children from a community can be just as violent and harmful as leaving them there without any changes to current harms. For example, in his book "Returning to the Teachings," Rupert Ross relays the story of one IRS survivor. She recounts that her first experience of abuse was not, in fact, at the school but in her community. When she returned at age sixteen after being gone form ten years, the adults in her community had changed. Her own people began to abuse her. She poignantly remarked, however, that “her abusers, Aboriginal people all, did not abuse because they were Aboriginal people, but because they were changed Aboriginal people.”(Ross,46) And as Ross himself affirms, when the primary source of meaning for a small community’s life is removed, it leaves a hole, a trauma, to which people respond to in introjected (alcohol and drug abuse, self harm) and/or projected ways (abuse of others, crime). As a result, the trauma of sexual abuse began to fester in the gaping wound left by the removal of the children for the IRS. Just something to think about especially because we sincerely want to stop abuses to children. But the removal of children from abusive situations is does not seem bring about justice and healing, but often more and different kinds of traumas. Healing needs to be done with the whole community.

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