The now infamous elevator video that sparked the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal in the NFL dominated media coverage earlier this year.  As the NFL stumbled its way through the controversy over its handling of not only Ray Rice's domestic abuse charges but those of other players as well, another scandal emerged.  Adrian Peterson, a player for the Minnesota Vikings, was charged with child abuse, and this scandal came with graphic images as well, to include police report photos of Peterson's 4-year-old son showing cuts, bruises and welts on his body. 

Discipline v. Child Abuse

The protestations by Peterson that his actions toward his son were "discipline" and not abuse triggered a national debate about what constitutes child abuse and what constitutes discipline.  Collin County family law attorneys recognize that the line between the two is not always easily differentiated. Some people quickly rose to Peterson's defense, pointing to the fact that using a switch to hit children was a generations-old method of discipline.  Peterson was raised in east Texas, and he was with his son outside of Houston when the incident at issue occurred.  In Texas today, parents have the right to physically discipline their children with "reasonable force."

Others were equally quick to denounce Peterson's actions as child abuse, pointing to the injuries left on his son from the beating with the switch.  Under Texas law, leaving marks, causing injury and doing harm that requires medical attention raises the question of whether or not the force was reasonable.

If you suspect child abuse, report it to Child Protective Services and the police.  No child should be in danger or left in an abusive situation.  If you have questions about appropriate forms of discipline, contact our family law attorneys at the Collin County office of Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC today.