Local mother wishes state had let her discipline her child her way

Mom wishes state had not interfered with the way she raised her son
Published: Apr. 2, 2014 at 5:31 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 2, 2014 at 7:31 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Crystal White was arrested and jailed 10 years ago after she disciplined her child by slapping him in the mouth, for mouthing off at a teacher. Her son was taken away from her by DSS.

Last month, Gerald Gadsden was arrested and charged with leading police on a high speed chase and bribing an official. Gerald is Crystal  White's son. She says this is the life she was trying to keep him from, before the state got involved.

"I'm totally disgusted I was arrested. Reason I slapped him was for disrespecting his teacher," Said Crystal White."I was taken into custody and it opened a huge door for him to run into."

Though the charges were dropped against Crystal White, she says the damage had already been done. Six months later, her son Gerald got in trouble at school and was sent away to the Department of Juvenile Justice on a school referral for disturbing schools.

"You took him out of adolescent years. His years where he learns the most. Needs guidance from his parents and you put him in a place where all he had was offenders," White said.

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, nationwide, 29% of the students who got law enforcement referrals were black, while 45% were white.

In South Carolina, the numbers shifted 59% of the students with police referrals were black compared to 36% white.

White would like to see the state allow parents to discipline their own kids the way they see fit. She is also a big advocate of corporal punishment.

"When you're in school, that teacher is your mother," White said."Those teachers should be able to discipline those children too. It'll get some order back into the schools."

There are 19 states where it is legal for schools to administer corporal punishment. South carolina is one of them, but it doesn't happen very often.

According to statistics from the Center for Effective Discipline, fewer than 1% of students are ever paddled by a school official.

Though her son has had his legal challenges, White says she does not consider herself a bad parent. She says she has raised three other children that society would consider successful, including a college graduate.

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