Jailed For Disciplining Your Own Kids?


A Pineville man was arrested Friday afternoon after witnesses told Rapides Parish sheriff’s deputies that he hit his 5-year-old son with a belt.

Michael Joseph Tassin, 50, of 34 Alvin Drive, Pineville, was charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in connection with the incident.

When deputies arrived at the Alvin Drive home around 1 p.m. Friday, Tassin said he was just disciplining his son. Deputies noted welts on the back of the 5-year-old boy’s legs from his knees to his buttocks. The child didn’t require medical attention.

Tassin was booked into the Rapides Parish Jail.

Probably by virtue of their profession, most of the cops I’ve known in my life are serious “spare the rod, spoil the child” types. I can’t imagine any of them arresting a parent for taking a belt to their own kid. So I’m sure there has to be more to this situation. Unfortunately, that quote is the entire story from the paper.

If this is the whole story, it looks ridiculous.

I’ve never hit my kids. Have no plans to do so. And if I did, I sure as hell wouldn’t do it with a belt. On the other hand, my reluctance has nothing to do with hoity toity moralizing about the evils of spanking. I got my ass whupped many times – belts, paddles, wooden spoons, whatever my Mom could grab – and it did me no harm, though it left marks every time, even when it was just a hand. There’s a thousand people who could give the same testimony for every one real case of discipline turning into abuse. So though I don’t beat my kids, I have no problem with anyone else beating theirs.

Even if you think it’s wrong, is it so wrong that jail is the proper response? The kid has a dad who beat him with a belt. O.K., that might be bad. Now, though, the kid has a dad who beat him with a belt and who is also in jail. That’s an improvement? A parent who uses the time honored tradition of belt whipping is so bad that it’s better for the child not to have that parent? Sure, the parent probably isn’t gone for good, but he’s got to spend money to defend himself and win or lose now every time he tries to get a job, guess what his employer will find? And guess who suffers from the dad’s newfound financial problems? Like I said, maybe there’s more to this, but as the facts stand, I think this child would be much better off if the law had stayed away.

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