NEWPORT (WATE) – A mother was charged with aggravated child abuse, but she says she was just disciplining her child.
The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office said they were called to Cocke County High School on Tuesday to talk with a 16-year-old girl with special needs. The detective said the girl had bruising on her butt and leg area, and skin was torn on her right leg.
The girl said her mother, Geneva McGill, whipped her with a horse whip on Tuesday because she talked back. On Wednesday, she said she was whipped with the horse whip again because she left dirty clothes on top of the hamper in the master bathroom. She said both whippings were on her bare skin.
McGill said she only whipped her child with a horse whip on Tuesday. On Wednesday she said she whipped her with a belt. She said she doesn’t have horses, but purchased the whip to discipline her children.
Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes says the incident should make parents think about how they’re disciplining their children.
“A parent shouldn’t take and whip a child with a horse whip or wrought iron or anything else. It should be done in a calm and appropriate manner,” said Sheriff Armando Fontes.
Many people in Newport had strong reactions to the incident.
“It’s wrong, first of all to take a horse whip to any human. But for a special needs child, there’s ways to discipline children and that’s not the way at all,” said Newport resident Christine Shepard.
“To strike a child with an object like that it’s unhuman. Absolutely not okay, unacceptable,” said Marcus Davis.