CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, June 22, 2011 ( – A Texas mother of three has had her children taken away, and was sentenced last week to five years probation, for spanking her two-year-old daughter.


“You don’t spank children today,” said Judge Jose Longoria of Corpus Christi’s 214th District Court.  “In the old days, maybe we got spanked, but there was a different quarrel.  You don’t spank children.”

Rosalina Gonzales had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of injury to a child.  As part of the deal, she is required to take parenting classes and pay $50 to the Children’s Advocacy Center.

Prosecutors described it as a “simple, straightforward” spanking case that didn’t involve a belt or leave bruises.

Gonzales was arrested in December when the child’s paternal grandmother says she had noticed red marks on her behind and took her to the hospital.

The three children have been placed in the paternal grandmother’s custody until the Department of Family and Protective Services determines that Gonzales is ready to have them back.

The Texas Attorney General’s website explains that spanking is permitted under Texas law if it does not cause injury, but it could be deemed abusive if not confined to the buttocks or if certain instruments are used.  “A blow that causes a red mark that fades in an hour is not likely to be judged abusive,” it says.  “On the other hand, a blow that leaves a bruise, welt, or swelling, or requires medical attention, probably would be judged abusive.”

Spanking has become a hot-button issue, with debates raging over the practice’s effectiveness and certain groups calling for it to be outlawed outright as a form of child abuse.  Many pro-family groups have argued, however, that the state’s effort to clamp down on spanking, in cases where the child is not injured, represents an unjust usurpation of parents’ proper authority over their children, and their right to discipline their child according to their own conscience.