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Louisiana mom could face felony charges after punishing sons for robbery

Parental Discipline Outrage
Parental Discipline Outrage 02:03

BATON ROUGE -- A mom from Louisiana has found herself in trouble with the law, and at the center of a national debate over how she recently chose to discipline her children.

Schaquana Spears CBS News

Thirty-year-old Schaquana Spears wanted to show her three sons some tough love by whipping them for breaking into a neighbor's home.

"I was being a mother who loves her kids, who wants to protect her kids, and steer them in the right direction."

According to police documents, Spears struck her 13-year-old son multiple times with an electrical chord, but she says it was a belt. The teen had lacerations on his arms and marks across his body. Two other sons also had visible injuries.

"I reacted and I'm the bad guy, it's not right," Spears said.

The single mother of six was arrested and could be charged with two felony counts of child cruelty. She also lost her job and custody of her kids.

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Many in the community support her actions, including Alisa Nicholson -- the neighbor who was allegedly burglarized.

"You know, her kids done wrong and she spanked them or whooped them and I commend her for that."

Winter Applewhite doesn't know Spears, but paid nearly $400 to bail her out of jail.

Alisa Nicholson CBS News

"I told her that I understood where she was coming from, and she did nothing wrong," Applewhite said.

But some have questioned whether Spears went too far.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services said "reasonable, constructive discipline is a healthy part of parenting ... but it crosses into abuse when it leaves a child cut, burned, bloody or bruised."

"I'd rather discipline my kids than for them to be beaten in the street, caught in someone's home murdered, or in someone's prison and me having to visit," Spears said.

The state attorney general is looking into the case, and the local district attorney still hasn't filed charges. If charges are filed, Spears could face 20 years in prison.

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