NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Two Staten Island parents were given a time-out Tuesday night and also facing criminal charges.
They said they were just trying to teach their badly behaved 6-year-old a lesson, but police said they were punished for trying to dump their daughter at the 120th Precinct house, reports CBS 2's Sean Hennessey.
1010 WINS' Alice Stockton-Rossini with details on the story
The Santiago family was reunited after a run-in with the law that had little Enayla watch both mommy and daddy get arrested.
"It was terrifying," mother Annette Gerhardt said.
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The arrest came after Gerardo Santiago and fiancée Gerhardt took their little girl to a police precinct after she'd been acting up in school.
"We just came to teach our daughter a lesson on where bad kids go," Santiago said.
But the lesson spun out of control almost from the moment Annette walked into the precinct.
"I said 'is this where bad kids go?' She looked at me and told me 'we don't do this stuff here,'" Gerhardt said.
Then the mother and daughter caught the attention of a captain.
"At that moment I covered my daughter's ears and said can you just play along? I just want to scare her. When I uncovered my daughter's ears, she asked me what kind of parent was I? At that moment I looked stupidly like, I'm coming here for help. So I asked. I said, you know, what happens if a parent doesn't want their child?" Gerhardt said.
Gerhardt said she was separated from her daughter and both were eventually arrested. Court records quote Gerhardt saying about her daughter: "She is uncontrollable. I'm going to leave her here. If you don't take her, I will take her to the firehouse."
"I believe they're covering their ass," Gerhardt said in response to that accusation.
The parents spent the night in jail.
"It definitely backfired. They tried to scare us instead of helping us straighten out the child," Santiago said.
One child psychologist said it was a good idea for teens, but a 6-year-old is too young.
"The fear factor overwhelms the benefits that you get out of it," said Dr. Alan Hilfer, Director of Psychology at Maimonides Medical Center.
The parents said the situation was supposed to be a joke and that if they didn't want their daughter, "I would let ACS take her and put her into the system, into a foster home," Santiago said.
Both parents have been charged with child endangerment and attempting to abandon. They're due back in court next month.
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