The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has established legal guidelines for physical punishment by parents.

The court stated that parents are allowed to spank their kids as long as “reasonable” force is used and the child is not harmed.

According to WCVB 5, the Supreme Judicial Court reversed the conviction of assault and battery of a man from Brockton who had been seen by police spanking his almost 3-year-old daughter near a bus station.

Corporal punishment cases have been discussed before in the court, but specific guidelines before this had never been issued for a parental privilege defense.

Justice Barbara Lenk stated that two important interests needed to be balanced:
1. Protecting children against abuse.
2. Avoiding unnecessary interference with the rights of parents to raise children as they see fit.

Spanking or other physical acts that are considered as mild are allowed if there was “reasonable force" used against the child.

However, the court made it clear that force can never be used if it puts harm into a child.

With additional reporting by Sal Lopez