Manitoba Mennonite community regrets harshly disciplining children


Months after all the children of a Mennonite community were seized by authorities, some parents are speaking out. They say their efforts at discipline for defiant and abnormal behavior were called abuse and assault by authorities. Today, CBC's Karen Pauls takes us inside a community that until now has been closed to outsiders.

A Mennonite community may never be the same ... the dramatic seizure of their children, police charges of abuse , and the knowledge that unless parents and grandparents agree to change their ways they may not get their kids back.

"7 o'clock in the morning they were here to pick them up so we got them out of bed, 1 girl and 3 boys got them dressed and they left. Had no idea where they were taking them".

Earlier this year, child welfare workers seized every single person under the age of 18 from an Old Order Mennonite community in Manitoba.

The action came during an RCMP investigation resulting in assault charges against thirteen adults in the community.

'We want to do what is proper,' community minister tells CBC News — CBC News

Now 40 children and teens are in foster homes as the criminal and civil cases slowly wind through the courts.

Last week, three reporters were given exclusive access to the community at the centre of this unprecedented action. CBC National radio reporter Karen Pauls was one of them and she joined Anna Maria in studio to share this story.

And a word of explanation: we cannot name the community or any of the people interviewed to protect the identities of the children.

Menno schoolhouse empty - 600 px.jpg

A now empty school house in a Manitoba Mennonite Community. (CBC)

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This segment was produced by Winnipeg's Network producer Suzanne Dufresne and The Current's Documentary Editor, Joan Webber.

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