POLKTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Polkton Police Department Chief Matthew L. Norris has issued a statement denying that a Facebook post advocated the use of physical force to discipline children.
In the original Facebook post, that has since been deleted, the department explained that disciplining children is not considered a form of corporal punishment and a picture of an advertisement for ‘The Belt’ is prominently displayed beside it. In the picture, the advertisement appeared to suggest that a belt can be used for children who talk back, yell, don’t eat, run in stores and ‘more’.
On Monday night, Chief Matthew L. Norris issued a two-page long statement, stating that the Polkton Police Department “does not in any way promote or allow children to be victims of physical abuse” and that the choice of picture used in the post was “in poor taste and was used only to catch attention.”
Monday night’s statement continued to explain the intended meaning of the post.
“This post was only to educate people on the legalities of disciplining their children. We as Police Officers across this country are called upon daily to respond to calls where children have been or are currently being unruly and/or undisciplined. It is my opinion, and my opinion only, that some parents have allowed their children to become undisciplined for fear of having the Department of Social Services (DSS) called on them,” Chief Norris continued in the statement.
The full statement can be read below.
The department explained in their post that it is acceptable to ‘take control back over your family’, while suggesting that boundaries need to be established when it comes to children and their behavior.
“The statement of parents needing to set boundaries and “take control back of your family” as the news media has said out of context was simply meant that we as parents and not the police, DSS, or any other judicial system should be interfering into the discipline of a child. All children regardless of age need boundaries so that they know exactly what is acceptable to the parents and to the community at large. Unless that discipline constitutes assault, abuse, etc. In fact, we as parents know that there are many other ways to discipline children without spanking, paddling, etc,” Chief Norris said in the statement.
The post also included a disclaimer that leaving marks on children as a result of discipline is still considered child abuse and that there is a line between abuse and discipline.
“My statement about there being a line between discipline and abuse is very true. That statement can mean either physical, psychological, sexual, verbal, emotional, cultural or a combination of them all. There is a fine line when that is crossed when it goes from discipline to abuse, whether physical or not, it’s still a type of abuse. My only intention of this post was to bring awareness to parents that it is o.k. to be a parent and discipline a child without the fear of being arrested or having the Department of Social Services called into investigate them,” Chief Norris said in the statement.
In the statement, Chief Norris apologized for the post and picture, and also said that the post has been deleted as well as the Polkton Police Department Facebook Page.
“Although, it is a little too late to correct my error, the Facebook post has been deleted and also the Polkton Police Department Facebook page. I in no way want the public to think that the Polkton Police Department, myself or any officers associated with me advocate violence in any form. I will make no further statement about this matter. Thank you,” the statement concluded.