1#. It is difficult to say whether the judge was too lenient without knowing all the case details or having another case to compare it. Also, it is important to note that the judge reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and fined the father $100.00. This suggests that the judge considered the cultural differences and tried to find a middle ground. However, according to the United States Department of State, Guatemala ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990, which prohibits any form of violence against children, including physical or mental injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation (US Department of State, n.d.).Therefore, the judge’s decision to reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and to impose a fine of $100.00 seems to violate these laws and conventions, as well as the principle of the child’s best interests.
This case is an excellent example of cross-cultural conflict. The father’s actions were deemed acceptable in his culture but not in the American culture. It is essential to understand that different cultures have different beliefs and practices regarding child-rearing. What may be considered acceptable in one culture may not be acceptable in another.
As for reporting this case to Child Protective Services, it was the right thing to do. Child Protective Services is responsible for investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. In this case, school staff noticed the bandage on the boy’s hand and learned from him how he sustained the injury. They had a legal obligation to report this incident to Child Protective Services, which they did. It is vital to note that child abuse and neglect can have severe consequences on a child’s physical and emotional well-being. Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect cases can help protect children from harm.
Question: Should someone who moves to another country familiarize themselves with that countries cultures and laws? if so do you think this father should be held to our cultures and laws?
2# This issues and conflict brought about in this case study are more common than one would think. In determining whether or not the judge was too lenient in the case there are several factors that must be considered. One of those is, what is or what could be the universal definition of abuse? According to the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, abuse is “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm” (brycs.org, 2023). In my opinion the act of the father regardless of whether or not he saw it as an acceptable punishment culturally falls under this category. He caused his son serious physical harm and it was intentional. Another factor to consider is that he has been reported before abusing his son that were separate from the burn incident. Even though by his standards personally and culturally the ways in which he punishes his son are acceptable they without a doubt cause serious consequences on his son. A 100.00 fine hardly constitutes an acceptable form of punishment to make up for his acts. Lastly the argument that in his father’s country this punishment is acceptable, he is not in that country anymore and the laws in the United States are the laws that apply now. The judge in this case has an obligation to uphold these laws and assign the punishment for breaking them. Would he give the same punishment to a father from the United States? I highly doubt it. Furthermore who is to say that after the fine he won’t continue to inflict serious unacceptable harm on the child. What I do believe is that the parents most definitely should be educated as far as the laws and definitions of abuse. Sometimes when we know better we do better.
Question for the class; What do you think would happen if the roles were reversed an a American father was abusing their child in another country?