Mom doesn’t think whipping her son warranted her arrest

Clarissa Thomas

By Dana Wachter

UNION, S.C. (WHNS) – A South Carolina mother accused of bruising her son while she disciplined him last spring is speaking out. She’s awaiting a trial but said she still doesn’t know what was so wrong with a form of punishment that so many parents use.

Clarissa Thomas admitted she whipped her 5-year-old son with a belt this past March. She said he was misbehaving, hurting his little brother and not listening to her when she told him to stop.

Union Public Safety said they were notified by the Department of Social Services after her son showed up at school with visible bruises. Investigators spoke with Thomas and her son. They said they saw bruises and had evidence to charge her with cruelty to a child.

Thomas said she just got her kids back after they were removed from her care months ago. She said she would never do anything to intentionally hurt her children and that it was just discipline.

“When I was in school in kindergarten, we used to get paddled. So, now they can’t paddle in the school, but I don’t see what’s wrong with us whipping our kids at home,” Thomas said.

Union police said there is no set way to say what’s too far with disciplining children and that their officers make decisions and interpret the law according to their discretion. In this case, they said, there was enough evidence and probable cause to make the arrest.

Thomas’ case will see a jury trial sometime in the next year.