East Texas child advocates weigh in on Adrian Peterson spanking case

East Texas child advocates weigh in on Adrian Peterson spanking case

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Adrian Peterson spanking case has East Texas child advocates talking.

Harold's House Education Director Ashley Cook said cases like the Peterson one are common in East Texas because of what she called a cultural upbringing. Cook said that, in her line of work, the cases are increasing on a yearly basis and hopes cases like this bring awareness to a topic that is all too often swept under the rug.

Harold's House has seen an estimated 50 abuse cases since the beginning of the year involving spanking in some manner.

With the news that Peterson's spanking of his 4 year-old son caused cuts and bleeding, Cook is speaking out about that form of discipline.

"When you see a video or photos; it brings it home," Cook said. "It's easier to look away when you can't see something right in front of you."

Cook added that the word abuse has become so common that many people dismiss it.

"When you say, 'someone abused someone,' it is so easy for us to dismiss that word because we hear it all the time," Cook said. "Let's just say what happened. That child's body was cut into over and over and over again. There is blood crusted on it. It is hard to hear those things, but this child's body was lashed and lacerated over and over. I counted from one to 15 on one leg. Then you got the other leg, then you got his hand and his back."

Flo sparks is a mother of three and she saw the pictures of the scarring caused by Peterson.

"I had these [bruises] also," Sparks said. "We were left with these too, but they soon went away."

Sparks does admit that there is a line a parent should never cross.

"You can switch them so much, but then let them go when you think they have had enough," Sparks said.

Cook's advice for parents is to find other ways of discipline, that will not lead to charges from law enforcement. Cook also said Harold's House teaches parenting classes on to about 20 parents every month where the topic of child discipline is taught.

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