Father has defiant teenager daughter arrested

Editor’s note: This story is not an isolated case of parents asking the sheriff’s office for help with their out-of-control children. For more on this issue, see future editions of the Okeechobee News.

OKEECHOBEE — An exasperated father made a hard decision and stuck with it Thursday when he took his rebellious 17-year-old daughter to the sheriff’s office and had her arrested.

Deputy Cody Hurst, of the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), indicated in his arrest report that the Nov. 12 incident occurred, as the man was taking his daughter to school around 6:49 a.m.

According to the report the man relayed to the deputy how he tried to engage his 17-year-old daughter in conversation that dealt with her “… responsibilities and being accountable for her actions.”

However, the obstinate teenager apparently did not respond and when her father threatened to pull the car over and spank her she ignored him.

The father stopped the vehicle, got out and walked to the passenger’s side of the vehicle where his daughter was seated. But, she locked the car door.

“I then went back to the driver’s side of the vehicle and got back in the vehicle. I grabbed (his daughter) by her left wrist and pulled her towards me so I could spank her,” the father reportedly relayed to Deputy Hurst. “I then spanked (her) on the buttocks with my right hand. I did not spank (her) very hard. The spanking was more to show (her) that I was serious.”

At that point the defiant teen allegedly swung at her father and hit him in the right arm and began to curse him.

The father, finally at the end of his rope, drove to the sheriff’s office and filed charges against his daughter for hitting him.

“This is not the first time (she) has hit me out of anger. Something has to be done. (She) believes she is invincible and does not listen,” the father reportedly told Deputy Hurst.

Deputy Hurst stated he then spoke with the girl and when she basically corroborated her father’s story, he placed her under arrest on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery. She was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail then taken to the St. Lucie Regional Detention Center in Fort Pierce.

The deputy also stated he could see red marks on the man’s right arm.

Assistant state attorney Terry Tribble said when a child is taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) center, like the Fort Pierce facility, they are processed then usually released back to the parents. That is, unless a judge finds there is a continued threat or a propensity toward violence.

Mr. Tribble handles juvenile cases for the local state attorney’s office.

In some cases, he added, the child is sent to a respite care. If no respite care is available, the child may be released to another family member such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle. If, that is, their arrest was for a misdemeanor offense.

But, if the child is ordered to be held in DJJ custody, a judge will review their case every three days.

“If it’s their first arrest, they won’t score secured detention,” he added.

When asked if the problem of children becoming aggressive toward their parents is becoming more frequent, he said he didn’t really think so.

“Not more than usual,” he said. “We have some kids in the county that just don’t get it. It’s like a pressure cooker: Things get bad and they won’t address the underlying problem. Then, the lid blows off.”

Thursday’s incident was not the first time this family had called the sheriff’s office.

On Sept. 16 Deputy Leland Schoonmaker responded to the family’s call when they were reportedly “… having issues with (their daughter) and they needed to know what they could do about her acting out,” stated the deputy’s report.

Deputy Schoonmaker reportedly asked the unruly teen about her actions, and she apparently responded by saying her parents don’t trust her “… and nothing she does is good enough for them and she is tired of it.”

The deputy then reminded the teen she must abide by her parents rules, even if she thinks they aren’t right.

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Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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