According to this Dakota County Criminal Complaint, a twelve year old boy was sent home from school and was punished by his father with a total of 9 strikes of a belt. Following this he was later charged with Gross Misdemeanor Malicious Punishment of a Child.
From the complaint:
Police spoke with the twelve year old child. The child told police his father, Terrill Montel May I, picked him up from school on November 11, 2012, after he got in trouble at school. May then took the child back to May’s residence located on Kruse Street, West St. Paul, Dakota County, Minnesota. Once back at May’s residence, the child explained that May punished him for misbehaving at school. He said May grabbed a belt and struck the child approximately seven times in the area of his buttocks. The child indicated he began to cry and told May that it was starting to hurt. He said May responded that it was supposed to hurt and then proceeded to strike the child twice more with belt.
According to the complaint, the son’s mother was notified by the child that he had been spanked by his father for getting in trouble at school. The mother noticed he had trouble sitting, requested he show her his rear-end, and then noticed bruising on his buttocks and legs.
Now, we’ve had this discussion many times: when we were children we were scared that our parents would do just this to us. While perhaps empty threats, it kept us in line and we weren’t willing to test the boundaries of the threat. The best way to ensure boundaries are not tested is to follow through with the threats; however, did this father take it too far? At what point do you believe it becomes “malicious punishment” when a parent uses a belt on their children? What did you think of the father saying, “it’s supposed to hurt,” and then hitting the child twice more for good measure? Do you think the child is thankful for his father being charged with this so that it probably won’t happen again? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.