When California Democratic Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula punished his seven-year-old daughter by spanking her for acting up, he ended up arrested on suspicion of child cruelty. Arambula believes his daughter went to school the next morning after he spanked her and told a teacher what happened.
He was arrested the same day after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School noticed the child had an injury and reported it to the authorities. The child told police her father was responsible and Arambula and his wife were interviewed by police before he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of willful injury to a child.
The couple has three daughters, ages 3, 6, and 7. All of their children were taken away for two days by Child Protective Services and stayed with Arambula’s parents.
Arambula told ABC30 that he rarely spanks his children but his daughter had been “acting out,” noting: “We have nights where we get overwhelmed and feel like we have work that we need to do with our kids. That night, was a night where she was acting out.”
He added: “It’s what parents have to be able to do, to have some ground rules to be good parents.”
His wife, Elizabeth, added: “She was angry, she was really angry that he spanked her. She woke up angry, and she went to school angry, and wanted to be heard.”
Arambula further told the Fresno Bee that he is a caring father, sharing: “Everyone who knows us in the community and has seen us in the community knows that I’m a loving father. I care about my daughters deeply and I’m just going through a process and trying the best I can to be a husband and father who’s putting us back together again.”
He added that he wants his daughter to know “that she’s loved and that her dad cares for her tremendously, that we both do, and that she has a wonderful place with us.”
Shortly after the arrest, Arambula was released and has not been formally charged.
He explained that “There’s a process to be played out, and this process played out, and they determined that the kids should go back home,” adding, “I’m excited about that. But we have a job and a responsibility to continue to be good parents, and that’s what I want to work on and will strive to do.”
The couple will have a family check in 30 days by authorities.
Among the comments left on social media about Arambula’s arrest were many who believed he was in the wrong. One person wrote: “There is NO reason a child should ever have to feel the weight, force of a grown adult! Discipline does not have to be physical punishment. If you do you just teach kids to hit when they are frustrated or mad themselves. Why are adults surprised that kids act up and test limits? They are kids! They are ruled by impulses, their brains are not fully developed yet. But there is NO excuse for an adult to hit a child. Adults should have better control over their anger and reactions. Teach kids, don’t beat them.”
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