• Sun, Feb 2 - 10:26 am ET

*UPDATE* Classy Florida Caregiver Charged With Using A Stun Gun To Discipline Kids

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Why is it always Florida? Letina Smith, a 41-year-old woman from Kissimmee, Florida is facing abuse charges after being accused of using a stun gun to discipline children, who are reportedly relatives, in her care. Klassy.

Smith was not only accused of using a stun-gun, she also allegedly made the three kids, ages nine, eight and seven sit against a wall “like they would in a chair” minus the chair, which sounds like the most uncomfortable position ever. If they moved out of the position, Smith allegedly zapped them with the stun gun, and called it the “electric chair” because apparently they don’t teach creativity in Florida (unless it’s how to creatively make an appearance on the show Cops).

The most heartbreaking part of this story is that the abuse was uncovered when one of the children became overwhelmed with fear after school officials threatened to make a call home to talk to the child’s parents about a behavior problem. According to an affidavit quoted in the Orlando Sentinel:

“(She) explained that the punishment was to get touched with a ‘taser. The electric chair consists of the child who is in trouble holding themselves… with their back on the wall and their legs forming a chair. They have to stay there for an hour and if they speak or move Letina will come up to them with the electrical weapon, ‘taser*,’ and activate and touch them with it.”

The report goes on to say that the device was less strong than a traditional stun gun, which is little consolation considering that it was still allegedly used on elementary school aged kids. Smith admits to holding the device “menacingly” towards the kids, but insists that it wasn’t used on them. Seeing as there weren’t any marks on the kids (which proves nothing) the charges might not stick, but the story seems pretty detailed for something three kids supposedly made up. Also, apparently at least one of the kids was able to describe how the device worked, which isn’t something he should understand if it was used to simply threaten the kids (which would be bad enough on its own). All in all, stay classy Florida.

*UPDATE* It’s been brought to my attention that TASER is a name brand and not a generic name for that type of device. I received a (slightly menacing) sounding email from a man named Steve Tuttle, the VP of communications for TASER that went as follows:

I just read your story Classy Florida Caregiver Charged With Using A Taser To Discipline Kids. Please recognize that TASER® is a registered trademark and it is also a product manufactured ONLY by TASER International which is located in Scottsdale, AZ. The device should be classified as a stun gun and not a “TASER.”

 The device in question is not a TASER® brand device.

Can you please immediately correct the headline and the story by removing any reference to TASER brand products? In the future, please describe it generically by stating it is a stun gun.

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  • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

    First let’s get all the kids out but then:

    http://i.imgur.com/r0AYH.gif

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Kids AND Maria G.out first.

    • Maria Guido

      hahahahah Wendy!

    • Maria Guido

      Hey! Are you going to set me adrift with all of these weirdos??

    • EX

      I thought of you the minute I saw this post. We’d never abandon you with the rest of Florida!

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      You have to stay there briefly to kick Crazy-Tasey’s ass. Then we’ll send in the choppers and airlift you out. P.S. Bring orange juice, even with Florida gone, mummy needs her mimosas.

    • Rachel Sea

      No worries, plenty of oranges are grown in SoCal.

    • Shannon

      If only. I was born there and I don’t really like to even visit anymore. I wish the rest of my family would abandon that sweltering cesspool of humanity and I wouldn’t have to go back ever again (except for Disney World).

    • Shelly Lloyd

      Yeah, because child abuse only happens in Fl.

    • Rachel Sea

      A lot of my family is still back in FL, but I haven’t visited since I was 16. As soon as a week of swimming and running around catching anole lizards was no longer enchanting, I hated going. I can’t even talk to most of my relatives; once I was old enough to have a grasp of racism and politics, they all started sounding nuts.

  • Alicia Kiner

    So, just to clarify… is it only abuse because of the taser? This position they refer to is the form of exercise used in the military, but it’s never for an hour. And they’re adults. My father in law was a drill sergeant, and used this in training. I’m uncomfortable with using a military training technique on children

    • pixie

      It’s pretty common outside of the military, too. We had to do it in gym class in grade 9 for fitness testing. They would only allow us to hold the position for 5 minutes tops, but you could stop at any point in time. Though back then I could easily hold it for more than 5 mins (I don’t think I could now), I can’t ever imagine having to do it for an hour. That’s cruel.

    • Pumplestilskin

      My daughters cheer squad does it as a form of punishment (11-13 year olds) Never for an hour. It’s for 30 seconds but my daughter said they have to do it in gym class too, by the end of the year they want them to hold it for a minute, I think, I can’t remember because we were also talking about holding a plank at the same time and since I’m woefully out of shape I have no idea what would be normal for 6th graders. These are not state standards though, just her gym teachers goals for the year. Their whole year is spent getting in shape for the Jr. Olympics at the end of the year, which serves as a sort of “final”. It’s really just a field day, but serious stuff for the kids, they love it. That being said, they started doing wall sits ( as I think they’re called here) in 3rd grade and it was more of a, “lets see who can hold this until the count of 10!”, thing and I’ve never heard of anyone doing it for an hour.

    • thebadlydrawnfox

      Even if the taser has not been used, surely the threat of it alone should be considered psychological abuse? Never mind that the threat was used to force the children to maintain a painful position for a great length of time.

      I’m fairly sure that it is illegal to force someone to act against their will using a threat of violence against them. If Bob doesn’t shoot Jim, it doesn’t make it any less stealing if Bob waves a gun in Jim’s face until Jim hands over his wallet…

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      We do the wall sit in my boot camp class, and while we may have multiple rounds of it, the longest I’ve been asked to hold it is a minute. An hour seems impossible to me, but I’m old and out of shape.

      (And to be clear; not saying that makes it right for these kids, at all)

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    This is happening in Florida? No… that cannot be.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Conveniently located just beneath the article:

  • SemNorbert

    I am asking that how to discipline the kids?
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/352477108307930369/

  • pineapplegrasss

    I think the sad sad point is that they can’t hold it for an hr so she gets to taser them. poor kids. These stories just always break my mommy heart to pieces. What else happens in this home?

  • candyvines

    Hey Taser guy, you should be proud – you’re like Kleenex.