Study reveals child abuse increases on Saturdays, a day after school report cards go out

Study took data of children under ages of 5 to 11, matching it with reports called in to Florida Department of Children and Families abuse hotline during academic year 2015-6


                            Study reveals child abuse increases on Saturdays, a day after school report cards go out

A new study has revealed that a day after school children get their report cards, the rate of child abuse increases. The study found out that there was a nearly fourfold increase in confirmed reports of child abuse on the Saturdays immediately after report cards were distributed on Fridays at public schools in Florida.

The study took data of children under the ages of five to eleven and matched it with the reports called in to the Florida Department of Children and Families abuse hotline during the academic year 2015-2016. The results of the study were published in JAMA Pediatrics on Monday.

A traffic sign depicting children is pictured at the Benedictine-run Ettal Monastery is pictured on March 12, 2010 in Ettal, Germany. (Getty Images)
A traffic sign depicting children is pictured at the Benedictine-run Ettal Monastery is pictured on March 12, 2010 in Ettal, Germany. (Getty Images)

The lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Florida, Melissa A. Bright, said that she decided to do research on the issue based on the personal accounts of teachers and pediatricians who noted a pattern of abuse soon after report cards were released to students. A. Bright, at the university, focuses on child maltreatment.

A pediatrician who specializes in treating victims of abuse, Dr. Randell C. Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla., said that he and his colleagues, for years, had heard children recount episodes of violence at home which stems from unsatisfactory grades. He said that they would often notice children with black eyes and marks from belts and electric chords after the results were announced.

Another author of the study and the chief of the child protection and forensic pediatrics division of the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Dr. Alexander said: “When you say, ‘How did you get it?,’ they say it’s because of their report card,” the New York Times reported.

Members of the public march down Queen Street during a march to bring awareness to child abuse and family violence on May 22, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The March for Moko was in memory of a three-year-old boy who was killed by his caregivers. (Getty Images)
Members of the public march down Queen Street during a march to bring awareness to child abuse and family violence on May 22, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The March for Moko was in memory of a three-year-old boy who was killed by his caregivers. (Getty Images)

He also added that when doctors asked parents why they hit their children, they sometimes responded with: "Because they got a C."

“We know a lot about what predicts child abuse,” Dr. Bright said. “But we don’t know when. If we have a better idea of when child abuse happens, then we can target our prevention efforts more effectively.”

Reports state that the researchers were surprised to find a link between verified reports of abuse and report cards only when the results were released. 

“Physical abuse included physical injury, bizarre punishment, asphyxiation, burns, bone fracture or internal injuries,” the study said.