Some people maybe should just not be parents. These two, for example:
Two Florida parents who are both high-ranking police officers are under investigation after admitting to putting their 3-year-old in jail because he was struggling with potty training.
Can’t make this stuff up.
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As reported by Timothy Bella for The Washington Post, what Lt. Michael Schoenbrod and Detective Sgt. Jessica Long of the Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department did to their toddler son on two consecutive days last October was disturbing. According to Bella, the child was reportedly placed in a jail cell by his father, Schoenberg, on the first day, then, on the second day, handcuffed and again placed in the cell. Afterwards, the (doubtlessly) traumatized child promised “not to soil himself again.”
That seems pretty damn excessive. As Bella notes, punishment of any type should never be a component of toilet training. But even more disturbing is the father’s apparent nonchalance when interviewed by caseworker at Florida’s Department of Children and Families.
As Bella reports:
“He was crying,” Schoenbrod said, according to body-cam footage obtained by The Washington Post. “I was getting the response I expected from him.”
According to Bella, the interview, captured on bodycam footage from another officer present as an escort to DCF at the time, was first reported by the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The bodycam tape was obtained by The Post before being deleted by the Volusia County Sheriff, whose department had provided that escort. According to the sheriff, the file was deleted pursuant to a court order restricting dissemination of records about the case.
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Schoenbrod also reportedly acknowledged during that interview that nine years previously, he employed identical disciplinary measures on his other son, then four years old, for purportedly hitting a girl in preschool. He considered it a useful tactic:
”It was effective. So that’s why I did it with [the younger son]. He didn’t hit anybody, but I figured the same thing — the discipline,” Schoenbrod said during the interview.
He also reiterated that making his three-year old cry in the jail cell was exactly what he intended. But it actually gets worse. Neither of these parents appeared to comprehend that these actions were abusive and simply wrong. In fact, the couple thought the investigation was the true affront.
During the interview with the caseworker, Long called the investigation into their potty-training response “insane.” Schoenbrod agreed.
“It’s just disgusting that somebody would drag our family through the mud like this,” he said, according to body-cam footage.
What actually seems more “disgusting” is that these two people seem perfectly content with their parenting skills, with nary a thought spared to what they may be doing to their kids’ emotional state. It’s also pretty disgusting that these people work in law enforcement, and are allowed to carry guns, with actual power over other peoples’ lives (Schoenbrod reportedly had been a SWAT team commander).
Putting your child in a jail cell in order to essentially terrorize him into doing something you want—and seeing no problem with that—probably suggests something about the attitudes these officers carry with them when performing their public-facing jobs.
It’s not clear what, if any, discipline or punishment the two officers will face. Per Bella’s reporting, no one, including DCF or the couple’s lawyer, would talk about the case’s specifics. According to UPI, a “professional standards investigation” was conducted, but the results were not made public. Other reports indicate that the couple’s pay stubs reflected 20 hours of unpaid leave each. Much of the published reporting on the story attests a virtual wall of silence from the very parties and persons who would be expected to possess information on the status of these officers.
Seriously, though. What kind of person would think this was a good idea?