A Louisiana mother says she thought she was doing the right thing by whipping her children after they broke into a neighboring home.
Earlier this week, Schaquana Spears, 30, was arrested on child cruelty charges after her 13-year-old son reported to detectives that he had been struck multiple times with an RCA cord. The child had marks on his arms, across his chest and body. A 10-year-old and 12-year-old also had marks of injury, according to investigators.
A neighbor reported items missing and alerted Spears. The boys had taken a hoverboard, electronics and socks. Upon finding her three sons with the stolen goods, Spears beat them with the cord.
On Tuesday night, after bonding out of jail, Spears explained she didn't know what else she was supposed to do.
"They're just being kids, being followers," Spears told WBRZ. "I thought I was showing them this is not what you do. You do not steal people's stuff, what they work hard for. I know how that feels, I've had my house broken into."
Spears burst into tears describing how much she loves her children and how their father is also incarcerated.
"They took my kids from me," Spears cried. "I have to put them in someone else custody. They never stayed away from me. I'm all they have– and it hurts."
District Attorney Hillar Moore released a statement about the incident defending parents' right to discipline their children, especially to protect them from harm.
"We need more parents who discipline their children," said Moore. "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."
Moore said the law doesn't allow "excessive pain or cruelty" and in this case the degree of physical discipline used against the boys would be reviewed.
"I will review all of the reports; meet with the DCFS office and review any history of this mother and her children to get a better picture of the entire family dynamics before making a decision. In the meantime my office is working with the juvenile court to ensure the speedy release of the mother under conditions satisfactory to the court."
Spears' story has generated an outpouring of support online, including those who offered to pay her bail. Others have chastised her for leaving physical marks on the children.