RSS
Spank your kid, get 5 years probation?
A Texas mom is slapped with an "egregious" punishment after swatting her 2-year-old — outraging many parents
 
Spanking a child has been a debatable disciplinary measure for years, but one Texas court has taken punishment to a new level, sentencing a mother to five years probation for her spanking.
Spanking a child has been a debatable disciplinary measure for years, but one Texas court has taken punishment to a new level, sentencing a mother to five years probation for her spanking.
Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Corbis

The spanking debate is back, after a Texas woman was sentenced to five years of probation, under a plea agreement for swatting her 2-year-old on the behind. Rosalina Gonzales of Corpus Christi was also fined $50 and ordered to attend parenting classes. Gonzales lost custody of her kids in December, and she won't get them back until the court deems her capable. "In the old days, maybe we got spanked," Judge Jose Longoria told Gonzales. But "you don't spank children today." Does he have a point?

No. This takes nanny-state intrusion to an "absurd" new level: Gonzales "did not use a belt" and "she didn't draw blood, break any bones, or even leave bruises," says Dathan A. Paterno at Big Government. She spanked her kid on the behind. That's hardly a "heinous crime." This "egregious judicial overreach" is about imposing the judge's obvious liberal agenda, not the law.
"Judges gone wild, Texas style"

Well, parents need to know times have changed: Yes, "a swat on the butt is OK" under Texas law, says Margaret Hartmann at Jezebel, but it's illegal if it injures the child. Gonzales got in trouble because her spanking left red marks, and her daughter's paternal grandmother noticed. "The school of thought on corporal punishment has shifted in the past few generations," and harsh spanking now crosses the line of what's acceptable.
"Mom gets probation for spanking daughter"

Spanking is unnecessary, but not abusive: "I don't think spanking is OK," says Meredith Carroll at Babble. Nothing a toddler is capable of justifies laying a hand on her, especially since the only message she'll get is that hitting is acceptable behavior. But I also "don't exactly equate spanking with child abuse," so it does seem that denying Gonzales custody of her three children over this, even temporarily, might be a bit excessive.
"Woman loses custody of kids after spanking her 2-year-old"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week