Schaquana Spears, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, mother, was arrested Monday after reportedly spanking three of her children as punishment for breaking into a neighbor’s home.
The 30-year-old mother was jailed Monday evening on one charge of cruelty to juveniles, according to a probable cause affidavit from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office obtained by ABC News Thursday. She has since been released.
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According to the affidavit, Spears whipped her 13-year-old, 12-year-old and 10-year-old sons after they allegedly “burglarized a residence down the street” last Friday.
The 13 year old and 10 year old told detectives they were whipped with an RCA cable and the 12 year old said he was whipped with a belt. The 13 year old also admitted to breaking into someone’s residence, the affidavit noted.
Detectives found the 13 year old “had lacerations to both his arms and linear marks on his leg, shoulder, back and stomach,” the 12 year old had “lacerations to his left arm that did break his skin” and the 10 year old had “a small scratch on his hand,” according to the affidavit.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said he would be reviewing all the material in the case before deciding whether or not to file formal charges against Spears.
“Parents have the right and obligation to discipline and teach their children,” Moore said. “We oftentimes 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,” he continued. “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.”
But Spears told WBRZ-TV she felt as if law enforcement made her look like a “bad guy for trying to discipline my kids and showing them right from wrong.”
“It’s been hell,” she said. “I never could imagine that trying to be a good mother would end me up in jail with a criminal record like I’m a predator out to hurt my kids who I live for.”
Spears suggested she felt like she was in a lose-lose situation, saying maybe she “should have done nothing,” but then would have been criticized as an “unfit” parent.
“It’s just the system is messed up,” she said through tears. “It’s messed up.”
And Spears’ neighbor, Alisa Nicholson, whose home was allegedly broken into, said she feels “so bad” for the mother because she believes Spears “did what she was supposed to do.”
“Her kids broke into a house that they could’ve got killed at, or the police could’ve seen them going in and shot them,” Nicholson said. “And I feel so bad that all this had to happen from her whooping her kids for them breaking them into someone’s home — which is very dangerous, especially these days.”
Moore said the “degree” of Spears physical discipline will be reviewed, adding that the law does allow for physical parental discipline, but “does not allow excessive pain or cruelty.”
“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,” Moore said, noting that he will be meeting with the state’s Department of Child and Family Services to “review any history of this mother and her children to get a better picture of the entire family dynamics before making a decision.”
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