November 21, 2009
Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, GA
The part of the story we were privy to ended with a 10-year-old Ozark, Ark., girl being Tasered (with her mother’s permission — if not at the mother’s request) and taken to a juvenile facility in handcuffs.
According to subsequent reports, however, the girl’s father, Anthony Medlock, said his daughter had emotional issues and since she didn’t have a weapon he doesn’t think a stun gun should have been used on his daughter.
Police were reportedly called to the troubled household Nov. 11 after the mother couldn’t get her daughter to take a shower.
According to a copy of his police report on thesmokinggun.com, the girl was curled up on the floor crying and screaming when Officer Dustin Bradshaw arrived.
The girl was violently kicking and verbally combative when Bradshaw tried to take her into custody, according to the report, and she kicked Bradshaw in the groin. He delivered “a very brief drive stun to her back,” he said.
“Her mother told me to Taser her if I needed to,” Bradshaw wrote in the report.
Some family service and juvenile offender workers tell gut-wrenching tales of family situations they have encountered. In such situations, children who frequently have problems behaving have their treatment escalated to levels better suited to adults.
Before the Ozark incident, how many instances of children being Tasered had we heard of?
People who deal with families, including mental health professionals, say stress and frustration play a big role in some parental decisions.
In families where corporal punishment is administered, spankings can turn into fights. When a frustrated parent feels like he or she is at wit’s end, it’s not difficult for a child to be viewed as an enemy.
I remember talking to a mother who said her daughter “didn’t treat me any better than she would treat a stranger. So that’s the way I treated her.”
The two of them had a physical fight. Names were called. Hair was pulled. Faces were slapped.
Their issues were not resolved, but at least for the moment, the mother said she was somewhat relieved — if only for a moment.
In another situation, a parent told of spanking a child for some misdeed. But when the child said “you weren’t spanking me, you were fighting me,” the parent’s head dropped in shame.
God only knows what went on in the Ozark household before police were called. We can only hope the mother — since the parents are divorced and the father doesn’t have custody — finds a way to help her little girl that doesn’t involve the police and stun guns.
Contact Kaffie Sledge at email@example.com
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Saturday, November 21, 2009
November 21, 2009