A 70-year-old grandmother in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was arrested and charged with second-degree domestic battery for allegedly hitting her granddaughter, 12, with a switch after she refused to clean up, according to CBS 8.
On the afternoon of Monday, June 27, police officials arrived at the home of Norma Toussaint on 124 Dawer Street after receiving a 911 call from her granddaughter, whose names has not been released, about a domestic disturbance.
Hot Springs police officials questioned Toussaint, who is the child’s guardian, about the incident and she admitted to getting a switch from a bush in her back yard and hitting her granddaughter with it on her arm. When the child allegedly refused to throw away food after being told to do so several times, getting hit with a switch was her punishment.
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The grandmother also stated that the child was being disrespectful by “talking back to her and she would not stop.”
“I said you’re not going to give me some lip about what you’re not going to do,” Toussaint said. “They do this to you, and they think they can do anything and get away with it.”
However, the child wasn’t at all thrilled about being punished with a switch, so she initially threatened to report her grandmother to authorities. That’s when Toussaint said, “You want to call the police, call them,” and that’s exactly what she did.
According to a police statement, after they arrived at the home, officials examined the woman’s granddaughter and discovered “welts on her arm, but she was not bleeding.”
Authorities say they questioned the grandmother, who has “two dozen grandchildren that she has helped raised,” and her granddaughter separately, and when they determined that both told similar stories, Toussaint was arrested and taken into custody.
The grandmother’s arrest sparked social media outrage, claiming that by arresting parents and grandparents for disciplining children, it only enables them to grow up with no respect.
“And you wonder why kids now are just little s***s with no respect,” Josh Lawn wrote via Facebook. “I’m not a religious man by no means, but one thing that stuck was (and after a while learned to be true) spare the rod, spoil the child.”
Another social media user, Dorette Henderson Lawson, wrote, “As long as she was just trying to teach her respect, go granny go. I got switched and belted when I was young. It won’t kill you! However, don’t get carried away with it. I’m for discipline, not abuse.”
However, there were a few individuals who agreed that Toussaint should have been arrested and criminally charged for hitting her granddaughter with a switch because “leaving welts on a kid is too violent,” according social media user Petunia.
“This is the reason that kids now days are so out of control,” said a social media user. “Kids know all they have to do is call the police, if a parent or grandparent spank or switches them. This is the reason why there’s so many thugs out there.”
Norma Toussaint has since been released from the county jail and the charges against her were dropped. She told reporters that she has no plans of hitting her granddaughter with a switch again because she “doesn’t want to go back to jail.”
She went on to say that the responding officer told her that if she would have hit her granddaughter on the behind, she would not have been arrested for disciplining her. Since hitting her granddaughter with a switch left welts on her arm, they had to make an arrest. But the grandmother said, “she [granddaughter] has to learn some kind of authority you know what I’m saying.”
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