Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Parents' Attempt to Scare 6-year-old Daughter Straight Backfires

Who knew. Children have so many rights that you can't even discipline the bastards. New Yorkers Annette Gerhardt and her fiancé, Gerardo Santiago, were charged with child endangerment after they tried to scare their 6-year-old daughter Enayla straight by taking her to a police station.
The parental misfire occurred Friday when the couple brought their daughter, Enayla, to the 120th Precinct stationhouse. The girl had been acting out in school, and Gerhardt got the idea to take her to a police station after a friend did the same thing with her problem child. "They pulled her kid aside and said, 'This is where bad girls and boys go,'" Gerhardt, 25, said, referring to her pal's experience at a different police precinct. "That's what I was looking for." That's not what happened. Gerhardt said after she escorted her daughter inside and asked an officer to "play along" with the gag, the cop gave her a perplexed look. Gerhardt then covered her daughter's ears and explained why she was there. Instead of dealing with Gerhardt's girl, the officer brought the young mom into a private room and reprimanded her. "She told me that I was an unfit mother," Gerhardt said. "I sat there with tears in my eyes." Minutes later, both Gerhardt and Santiago, who was waiting in a car outside, were arrested. Enayla, a child model and first-grader at Public School 29, was ordered to stay with her grandmother until Tuesday. "I missed them and Snow White, too," she said, after she was reunited with her parents and their white cat yesterday. Gerhardt, who has type-2 diabetes, said she fainted inside the stationhouse and was briefly hospitalized. The couple was arraigned and released on Saturday. "They tried to makes us look like bad parents in front of our child," Santiago, 27, said. Prosecutors say that Gerhardt was arrested after she told the officers, "I can't take her anymore. She is uncontrollable. I'm going to leave her here. If you don't take her, I will take her to the firehouse." "We obviously had questions about their ability to supervise," NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. But Gerhardt's lawyer claims cops overreacted. "It's really just a misunderstanding that police blew out of proportion," said Matthew Blum. "She was trying to scare her daughter straight. Her mistake was not contacting police before doing this." This isn't the first time Gerhardt and Santiago have run afoul of the law. The young couple was charged last April with misdemeanor drug possession after cops discovered 4-1/2 ounces of marijuana in their home. The charges were slated to be dropped if the couple stayed out of trouble for a year. It's unclear how the endangerment charges will impact the drug case. For her part, Gerhardt says she regrets her botched attempt to discipline her daughter. "It's an experience you just wished in that moment that you didn't do it," Gerhardt said. "That you could just take it all back."
In our estimation, the police department's response is a gross over-reaction. We don't know what steps Annette and Gerardo took before coming to the decision to take the child to the police station, but clearly they've have it with the terror. Locking them up and pursing criminal charges is such a waste of taxpayers' money. Geesh! We're surprised police hasn't swooped down on this mother and put her behind bars.

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