Behavior: Report Cards Can Hurt You

In many homes, poor grades trigger a torrent of child abuse

In Atlanta a mother beats her three children -- ages twelve, ten and eight -- with a rolling pin until they are black and blue. In Richmond a man forces his nephew to stand at attention and circles the boy while spitting on him. During a parent-teacher conference in Detroit, a woman grabs her twelve-year- old son, hits him in the face until he bleeds, then punches him in the ribs and walks out of the room. What did these children do to earn such treatment? They brought home report cards with poor grades.

In America's increasingly competitive society, the bad...