Is cutting hair as punishment child abuse?

The Register reports today that an Orange County Deputy DA and his wife have filed suit against the County, the State and the County Social Services Agency over being listed in the State index of child abusers (“Couple fight listing on child abuse registry”). According to the story, their offense was cutting their teen foster daughter’s hair as punishment.

Setting aside the issue of a county employee suing his employer, it sounds like the issue will boil down to whether one or more county social workers followed state protocol in assessing an allegation of child abuse; whether that state protocol is on solid legal ground; and whether cutting a teen girl’s hair, bit by bit, as punishment for repeated misbehavior is child abuse or not. 

Once blessed with a thick head of hair myself, aging has led me to become folliclely challenged and I can tell you that I have a new appreciation for hair retention. I imagine that along with the loss of hair to this teen there was some emotional damage about it all. And, emotional abuse is generally considered a form of child abuse under State law. But, what is a foster parent/parent to do in order to discipline a teenager?

If this case goes to trial it will be an interesting one to watch. I will bet that what sounds in the article like a minor hair cutting episode turns out to be more complicated. In the meantime, what say you about whether forced hair cutting of a teen girl as a form of punishment is abuse or not?


About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.