Apparently spanking your child is a felony now

Let me guess. You saw a post with the word “spanking” in the title and assumed this was another column about Anthony Weiner. Not so! A notorious felon in Texas has been brought to justice on charges of Injury to a Child. The outlaw in question is Rosalina Gonzales and her crime is described as spanking her own child.

A judge in Corpus Christi, Texas had some harsh words for a mother charged with spanking her own child before sentencing her to probation.

“You don’t spank children today,” said Judge Jose Longoria. “In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel. You don’t spank children.”

Rosalina Gonzales had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of injury to a child for what prosecutors had described as a “pretty simple, straightforward spanking case.” They noted she didn’t use a belt or leave any bruises, just some red marks.

As part of the plea deal, Gonzales will serve five years probation, during which time she’ll have to take parenting classes, follow CPS guidelines, and make a $50 payment to the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Something tells me that we shouldn’t be rushing over the cliff on this story just yet. I admit that my first reaction was very much in line with Datechguy, who finds our far too permissive “time out” society to be at the core of many social problems today. I came from a family where fairly stern discipline was applied and I think my siblings and I came out much the better for it. (My mom had a wooden spoon she kept for such purposes in one particular kitchen drawer. Fifty plus years later I still find myself steering a wide path around that drawer.)

But in this particular court case – especially in Texas of all places – I have to wonder if there isn’t more to this story we’re not being told yet. First of all, the article mentions in passing that Ms. Gonzales “doesn’t have custody of the child or her other two children, is trying to get them back.” Is this as a result of this particular incident, or had she already lost custody previously? Further, the “red marks” in question were noted by the grandmother, apparently some time after the incident, so they might have been more durable and serious than the brief sting and redness of a typical paddling. Something compelled the grandmother to take the rather drastic course of bringing the child to the hospital and they filed a report.

Finally, the child in question is two years old. How badly can a two year old be behaving to justify a serious session across mom’s knee? I don’t think I ever managed to get into that kind of trouble until at least when I was in elementary school.

Maybe this story is exactly as it seems and the courts in Texas are running amok. But it’s got my spider senses tingling and I’d like to know more of the details before we hang this judge out to dry as some sort of nanny state fanatic. Until we get those details I’ll leave it to the reader to decide.

UPDATE: My apologies, but I forgot to include the link to the original story in the post. Corrected.