National outcry after mom arrested for whipping child
BATON ROUGE- The woman who bonded out a mother who was arrested for disciplining her children said she felt compelled to help the single mom of six.
30-year-old Schaquana Spears was charged with child cruelty, when East Baton Rouge sheriff’s detectives discovered bruises and cuts on her three boys, all between the ages of 10 and 13.
Spears went viral after doing an interview with WBRZ late Tuesday night. She was arrested and her kids were taken away. Winter Applewhite said the mom's story resonated with her.
"If I could reunite this woman with her kids, at whatever cost, I was willing to do that," Applewhite said.
Applewhite owns a bailbond company and used nearly a $1,000 of her own money to set Spears free.
"I really think I was supposed to help her," Applewhite said. "I wouldn't have been able to sleep. I think she was an awesome mom. I think what she did what was right. Had it been my boys, I would have whipped them as well and whipped them again when I got out."
"I live for my kids," Spears said.
Spears took heat after she was arrested for whipping her children with an electrical cord. It happened after they got caught breaking into a neighbor, Alisa Nicholson's home.
"She made them give it back," Alisa Nicholson said. "She thanked me for calling and letting her know what was going on and said she would take care of it."
Tonight, the mom is questioning whether she should have done something differently.
"Maybe I should have did nothing," Spears said. "I still would have been wrong. I would have been unfit. Then they would have been saying you should have disciplined them. I did it and now look at what happened. The system is messed up."
As Spears reflects on what happened, she's unsettled about it. She believes if she didn't administer discipline to her children, they'd become yet another statistic in the system. She was grateful for all the support she's received.
"That's what's getting me through," Spears said. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart. In this day and age, I see so many babies getting killed, and I refuse to look at my babies in a coffin."
As officials review charges against Spears, they don’t want other parents to stop teaching their kids right from wrong.
“We need parents that are involved in their kid’s lives,” District Attorney Hillar Moore said. “And we need parents that are going to be a parent and not a friend."
The case is currently being reviewed by the sheriff’s office and the Department of Child and Family Services. Moore says he plans to review the family’s background before pressing charges.
"Based on what I see, the question is, whether or not what was inflicted on these kids is unjustifiable pain or suffering,” Moore said.
Activists with Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana argue this is a clear example of abuse.
"Her response is heart-breaking, you know we never want to see kids experience that kind of hurt," said Amanda Burnson, executive director of PCAL.
The District Attorney’s Office handles each situation on a case-by-case basis – making sure kids are safe, but also giving parents the authority to raise them with a sturdy hand.
Louisiana State treasurer sent a letter to DCFS Secretary Marketa Walters Wednesday afternoon. In the letter, Kennedy said it would be "ludicrous" to take Spear's children from her.
"It's one thing to remove children from an abusive situation. It's quite another thing to remove children who were disciplined for breaking the law," Kennedy said.
Kennedy also said that some children "only require a stern word," while others "require a much firmer approach."
"If Ms. Spears took that discipline a step too far, then she needs to be counseled on that," Kennedy said.
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