A Minnesota mother and her live-in boyfriend were arrested and jailed after police say they shaved the head of the woman’s 12-year-old daughter’s and forced her to run up and down their block in a diaper.
A neighbor of the couple called police after she saw the girl begging her mother to allow her to come in the house, but mom refused. When police arrived, a crowd of more than 50 people were watching the girl run up and down the street outside their apartment building wearing a tank top and an adult diaper.
According to Police Lt. Mike Monsrud, her hair had been completely shaved off.
“She had been outside for about half an hour before a neighbor called police. When the officer found her, she was crying and hysterical,” Lt. Monsrud said.
Police charged 38-year-old Stephanie Ann Broten and 34-year-old Darnell Alan Landrum with Malicious Punishment of a Child, a gross misdemeanor. The two reportedly told police they were punishing the girl for acting badly in school, bringing home bad grades from school and for failing to do her homework.
“They told her if she didn’t do her homework and improve her grades they would shave her head and put her on ‘diaper duty,’ which I guess meant running up and down the street and cleaning up trash as a form of public humiliation,” Lt. Monsrud said.
Officers say, mom Stephanie Broten and boyfriend Darnell Landrum questioned the police’s decision to intervene.
“Through the whole contact, and even on the way to jail, both were laughing and thinking it was ridiculous police would get involved in what they said was their parental decision,” he said.
During an emergency protection case hearing, the girl and her 3 siblings were removed from the home and placed in protective care.
According to a Child in Need of Protection or Services Petition (CHIPS) filed on behalf of the girl and her three siblings, this incident was the second time that her head was shaved as punishment.
The petition goes on to suggest that since April 18, the child’s 14-year-old brother has been sleeping on the floor and eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — also because of poor grades.
In previous instances of bad behavior and bad grades by the 12-year-old, sources say, the girl’s mom Stephanie Broten attempted to discipline her by taking away luxuries, but the misbehavior continued.
The mother’s boyfriend, Darnell Landrum, told investigators that he deserves credit for changing the children’s lives for the better. He added that he and Broten have gotten some of their parenting ideas from TV shows like “Scared Straight.”
Juvenile Court Judge Sean Gibbs set strict visitation arrangements for the couple, and ordered them to undergo psychological exams. The couple declined comment as they left the court.
Judge Gibbs set June 8 as the date for the final disposition hearing.