Spanking your kids can send you to jail in Corpus Christi, Texas, although corporal punishment is allowed by Texas law.
“This week, a local woman avoided jail time,” reports KZTV News, “but her case made it clear that local prosecutors and judges will not tolerate what used to be a much more accepted practice. Back in December, police arrested Rosalina Gonzales for ‘Injury to a Child,’ related to the spanking of her daughter, who was nearly two years old at the time.
The child’s grandmother had noticed red marks on the child’s buttocks, and took her to a local hospital. Wednesday, Gonzales was in court to plead guilty to the charge after reaching an agreement with prosecutors. She’ll be on probation for five years and during that time, will have to take parenting classes, follow all Child Protective Services guidelines, and make a one-time $50 payment to the local Children’s Advocacy Center.
But before she was let go, 214th District Court Judge Jose Longoria made it very clear to her and everyone else that even a simple straight forward case of spanking is a crime.
“You don’t spank children today,” said Longoria, “in the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children. You understand?”
Gonzales answered, “Yes, sir.”
Gonzales currently does not have custody of the two-year-old victim or her other two children.
She is working with CPS to get them back, but until the state feels that she is ready, the kids will remain with their paternal grandmother.
The Texas Attorney General’s office declined to comment today on the legality of spanking.
A spokesman referred us to the Nueces County District Attorney’s office, but Mark Skurka did not return our call for comment.
A CPS spokesman did tell us that spanking is considered criminal when it injures a child.
We found the following information on the Texas Attorney General’s website under the title “Is Spanking Okay?”:
“Texas law allows the use of force, but not deadly force, against a child by the child’s parent, guardian, or other person who is acting in loco parentis [in the absence of the parents]. Most parents do, in fact, use corporal punishment (in the form of spanking) at least occasionally, and most do not, in fact, consider it abusive. Experts disagree about the advisability of ever spanking a child. Some say that, combined with other methods of discipline, mild spanking of a small child is harmless and effective. Others claim that other methods of discipline work as well as spanking or better, and that spanking is not necessary. Many child advocates and experts in child development contend that all forms of corporal punishment, including spanking, are harmful. Most believe that spanking an infant is always inappropriate. The law does not attempt to arbitrate between the different views on the best method of disciplining a child. What we do know is that severe corporal punishment can be extremely damaging and dangerous, and this is what the law prohibits as abuse.”