A California state court ruled on Tuesday that a woman who spanked her daughter with a wooden spoon did not commit child abuse.
According to court documents, Veronica Gonzalez was labeled a child abuser by the Santa Clara County Department of Social Services after striking her 12-year-old daughter with a wooden spoon with enough force to leave visible bruises. However, the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose overturned the ruling, writing, “we cannot say that the use of a wooden spoon to administer a spanking necessarily exceeds the bounds of reasonable parental discipline.”
Fox News reported the court said the spanking came close to abuse, but the Department of Social Services did not originally consider all of the circumstances, such as whether Gonzalez meant to inflict bruises.
According to court documents, Gonzalez and her husband were “gravely concerned about their daughter’s declining academic performance and alarming social tendencies.” The parents alleged that they found pictures and text messages with references to gang culture on her cell phone, and had “many discussions” about her behavioral changes.
When the discussions did not produce results, the Gonzalezes reportedly told their daughter that she would receive one spanking for each infraction, including not completing homework assignments and being late to class.
In a statement quoted by the court, the daughter admitted to the alleged misbehavior and said lesser punishments had not worked.
Had the Department of Social Services label held, Veronica Gonzalez would have been permanently added to the statewide registry of child abusers.