On June 20, Schaquana Spears, 30, was arrested in Baton Rouge, La. on felony cruelty charges for allegedly beating her 10-, 12-, and 13-year-old sons after they allegedly robbed a neighbor’s house.
According to reports, Spears allegedly beat all three of her children with an RCA cord that left visible scratches, cut and bruises on their stomachs, legs and shoulders. The injuries were reported to the local Department of Children and Family Services in Baton Rouge, La., and Spears was arrested and detained.
“I left work and in the process, I made it to my house in 3 minutes and they were in there (neighbor’s home) with the stolen items and I grabbed the belt off the dresser and whooped them,” Spears told the Advocate newspaper. “I caught many butt whoppings for not doing what I was told and it landed me in jail with a criminal record.”
Since the arrest, social media has been awash in sentiments expressing support and criticism of using physical discipline against children. Many people defend her stance on beating her children, instead of seeing them incarcerated or dead.
As one person commented on YouTube: “Spare the rod spoil the child. This is what’s wrong with American youth today: no respect for property and the law. When the law is violated our justice system wants to either put you away for years or give you the death penalty but when the rules are broken in the household, and you discipline your child you will be put into the justice system. The youth today does not fear the law, authority or their parents because of taking discipline. ”
Taking the polar opposite position, another YouTube commenter wrote: “This type of discipline (child abuse) ultimately doesn’t solve or teach the kids anything. It only makes them come to resent their parents for the abuse and violence. What does this type of ‘discipline’ actually do a child’s developing mind? It ruins them. They are not only beaten physically, but they are beaten down mentally too.”
The children’s father is currently incarcerated, according to Spears.
“The law does not allow excessive pain or cruelty but does allow physical parental discipline,” Hillar Moore, the East Baton Rouge district attorney, told WBRZ, the local ABC affiliate. “Parents have a right and obligation to discipline and teach their children.”
On July 1, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office announced that the charges against Spears are being dropped.
“I think this may help the community say, ‘Hey, parents you should discipline your kids,’” Moore told WBRZ. “The degree of punishment, that’s something each parent has to weigh, and I weigh whether it’s too much. In this case, it was not unjustifiable pain and suffering on this child. It was a one-time event.”
Spears’ children are currently in foster care, and a GoFundMe account has been created to help relieve her financial stress and mounting bills.