The ambitious Tea Party state attorney general never lets a good culture war battle go to waste. On Friday he glommed onto the story of a Baton Rouge mother whose six children were removed from her home after she was arrested on cruelty to juvenile charges for allegedly severely whipping her children after they were spotted burglarizing a neighbor’s home. The mother was charged, according to press accounts, because three of the boys, ages 10-13, had cuts and other marks on their arms and bodies, allegedly from the power chord Schaquana Spears used to administer said whuppin.
But comment sections and social media rallied around Spears and her tough love approach to child-rearing, prompting the East Baton Rouge Parish district attorney to tread lightly in a statement to a Baton Rouge TV station:
Parents have the right and obligation to discipline and teach their children. We often time see children who have no parental authority or discipline which eventually results in delinquency and criminal acts. We need more parents who discipline their children. Surely you would expect a parent to discipline a child who is burglarizing other people’s homes as this could be a deadly encounter for the child. The degree of physical discipline will be reviewed. The law does not allow excessive pain or cruelty but does allow physical parental discipline. I only have the short synopsis which does indicate that the discipline resulted in marks on the child’s body and possibly an open wound. I will review all of the reports; meet with the [Department of Children and Family Services] office and review any history of this mother and her children to get a better picture of the entire family dynamics before making a decision. In the meantime my office is working with the juvenile court to ensure the speedy release of the mother under conditions satisfactory to the court.
In fact, according to accounts, Spears was released quickly thanks to an anonymous benefactor who forked out the $2,500 bond after seeing a report about the case on TV.
Not to be outdone, Landry issued a press release Friday saying that because the state “faces potential liability” related to that case, whatever that means, that the state Department of Justice would intervene. But Landry makes his real motive clear in closing the press release with a biblical reference to his own upbringing: “To be a peaceful and moral society, it is imperative our children learn right from wrong. I am grateful for my loving mother who did not spare the rod to teach this valuable lesson.”
So it evidently matters little whether the mother committed a crime by today’s standards by using a power chord that injured her children. And it matters less whether research suggests that corporal punishment is an ineffective way to get children to behave, making them aggressive as children and more prone to domestic violence as adults. That’s high-falutin’ ivory tower, liberal research crap right there! We spanked our children in the “good old days” and the “good old days” were by definition superior to these days and that’s good enough for Jeff Landry, who loves him some Bible wisdom. (See the cursive writing mandate passed by the Legislature during the regular session and signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards for another version of this impulse.)
Kids these days!