Staten Island Parents Arrested After Trying To Teach Daughter Lesson

Thought Their 6-Year-Old Would Benefit, But Cops Not Amused

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two Staten Island parents were given a time-out Tuesday night and also facing criminal charges.

They said they were just trying to teach their badly behaved 6-year-old a lesson, but police said they were punished for trying to dump their daughter at the 120th Precinct house, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.

1010 WINS’ Alice Stockton-Rossini with details on the story

The Santiago family was reunited after a run-in with the law that had little Enayla watch both mommy and daddy get arrested.

“It was terrifying,” mother Annette Gerhardt said.

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The arrest came after Gerardo Santiago and fiancée Gerhardt took their little girl to a police precinct after she’d been acting up in school.

“We just came to teach our daughter a lesson on where bad kids go,” Santiago said.

But the lesson spun out of control almost from the moment Annette walked into the precinct.

“I said ‘is this where bad kids go?’ She looked at me and told me ‘we don’t do this stuff here,’” Gerhardt said.

Then the mother and daughter caught the attention of a captain.

“At that moment I covered my daughter’s ears and said can you just play along? I just want to scare her. When I uncovered my daughter’s ears, she asked me what kind of parent was I? At that moment I looked stupidly like, I’m coming here for help. So I asked. I said, you know, what happens if a parent doesn’t want their child?” Gerhardt said.

Gerhardt said she was separated from her daughter and both were eventually arrested. Court records quote Gerhardt saying about her daughter: “She is uncontrollable. I’m going to leave her here. If you don’t take her, I will take her to the firehouse.”

“I believe they’re covering their ass,” Gerhardt said in response to that accusation.

The parents spent the night in jail.

“It definitely backfired. They tried to scare us instead of helping us straighten out the child,” Santiago said.

One child psychologist said it was a good idea for teens, but a 6-year-old is too young.

“The fear factor overwhelms the benefits that you get out of it,” said Dr. Alan Hilfer, Director of Psychology at Maimonides Medical Center.

The parents said the situation was supposed to be a joke and that if they didn’t want their daughter, “I would let ACS take her and put her into the system, into a foster home,” Santiago said.

Both parents have been charged with child endangerment and attempting to abandon. They’re due back in court next month.

Agree with the parents’ approach? Think the cops were too hard on them? Tell us in the comments section below.

  • sk

    Great – so now the kid learns that its OK if she acts up – there are no real consequences. These police officers are crazy. Stupid. They take away parents ability to decide how to discipline their own children but hold parents responsible when the kids become a problem to society. Parents get in trouble when their children even ditch school, but they aren’t expected to spank and have limited discipline options. I bet the police won’t have a problem whippin’ that child’s ass with a night stick when she becomes a reckless teenager. Its OK for police officers to scare and enforce (BY force) and a parent, with a bad ass child who they cloth, feed, wash and take care of on a daily basis can be considered unfit for trying to scare them straight. Just plain stupid.

  • Cassandra

    Personally they were trying to teach the kid a lesson on where bad people go… When a child refuses to listen to the parent what can they do? It’s better then beating them, so I call BS on this

  • T.J.

    Cops are wrong! They did that for attention, publicity & more for $$$$$. That’s why there are also stupid criminal charges. Lesson learned by parents.

  • Chaz

    This just shows that the days of “To Protect and To Serve” have been replaced with the more current days of “To Rule With an Iron Fist and a Gun”.

  • Solomon

    spare the rod, spoil the child.

    • blah blah

      learn what that means dumb ass. research

  • Charles U. Farley

    Stupid IS as stupid DOES.


  • concerned with our society

    Parents today need to do more of these acts to become the authority again. Society(some parents) today is so concerned with giving kids this sense of entitlement they have become out of control. There is no respect for other adults, teachers, etc that if parents were not so concerned with being their “friends” and “cool” maybe we would stop having a society filled with whining kids with no work ethics. Not to be completely sour I know there are great parents and kids out there but the bad override them. So I commend these parents for trying to do right by themselves and their child

  • James

    They should have asked the front desk in the police headquarters/police command beforehand if they have a scared straight program or a tour of the jail for youth offenders. I’m not a police officer but I have some friends who are currently in the Chicago police, Cicero Police (a south suburb of Chicago), and US Marshals. The cops are very busy people who don’t see their own families for long periods of time per day and any vacation they might have their family can get cut short from a cellphone call from their police commander. So they don’t need this kind of bravo sierra from some parents who should be teaching their own daughter by themselves.

  • bigguy

    I had this exact thing happen to me as a child when I was about 7 sticking a small plactic toy from a store. My parenta found out and brought me down to the PD. The cops played along and scared me into not ever doing it again. I am glad they did it and have utmost repsect for police and the law. I think the cops were out of line. I am usualy a good judge of character and i can tell you that most of the idiots on here with the “take away this”, or ” seek counseling”, live in good homes and have decent income. Facts. I raise my kids they way i was raised and they are good A+ students. If someone else tells me its wrong or harsh, I would “Straighten then out too” !! The liberal nonsene needs a foot in their @ss..

    • Paul Wade

      I agree, bigguy. Those cops should have played along with the parents and taught that child a valuable lesson.

      Ah well, I guess the times they are a changing. The cops apparently didn’t want to be left out of making arrests when that child grows up.

  • antonietta dumeng

    Not a good decision. There are better ways to teach your child.

    • Paul Wade

      I agree, ad. but the government doesn’t think you should “correct’ your child. Correcting a child in public today can cause you to be arrested.

      More government control. They seem to know more about how to raise and correct a child than the parents. Just ask them.

  • Nuiha

    that’s what happened when you spoil your children rotten and then when they start miss behaving you complain and do stupid things. Punish her, take away her toys, play time, treats or give her time out or whatever you do. start discipline early on before they start to miss behave badly

  • KPMc

    “Gerhardt said she was separated from her daughter and both were eventually arrested.”

    This sentence implies the child was arrested along with the mother.

  • T

    This is just wrong… all the way around.

    The parents were wrong to take their 6 year old to the police station to scare her staight for bad behavior. At the same time, how hard would it have been for that captain to take the family into an office, sit down and discuss the situation.

    Everything by everyone could have and should have been handled better. I see some court ordered family counseling for the parents in the near future and hopfully some community outreach training for the officers.

    • poolchick

      I agree. They should take a course or get councelling on how to handle a child acting up. They did have the right idea to try to bite the problem asap but they totally went the wrong route. The cops on the other hand, I can see why the reacted the way they did. Too many people harming and killing their own kids. They don’t know these people at all so they went the way they did for the child’s safety I think. Too bad it turned out the way it did but maybe they will all learn how to deal with situation like this.

    • Claude R

      Yes, the police overreacted, too. Now the child thinks her parents are bad and she’ll be more disobedient. As you say, it would have made a lot more sense to refer the family to social services for counseling.

      • Lisa Marino McIntosh

        New Yorkers do not have much sense of humor in general. Especially NYPD officers who do not have the time or patience to play games with those who lack common sense.

  • ldnj

    I just find it a tad one sided.. What did the kid do to warrant a “scarying” this bad?? Was she expelled from school? Did you hit, bite, yell? Or did she simply just misbehave and not listen like MOST 6th graders?
    If the parents can not take care of their child then, sure they should be able to walk away and thats it.. But from all the pictures and the lovely board game playing that the parents show.. how EVIL really is this child? No one knows.

    Maybe the cops acted a tad rough.. but.. if the parents wanted to scare the child into what happens when people misbehave and make bad decisions.. then I say that Cops showed her.

    • Ronald

      She was 6 years old, not a sixth grader. “Scarying” is not a word. Your entire comment was a grammatically trainwreck, until it reaches the last paragraph and devolves into absolute nonsense. Perhaps you should learn to articulate an opinion before sharing it publicly.

      • TH

        What is a “grammatically trainwreck?” Perhaps you should be certain of your grammar, before throwing your “grammatical” stones at other opinions.

    • Lu Plonski

      she wasn’t a 6th grader… Geez.. try reading the article before you put both feet in your mouth. She was 6 years old. The cops were also disgraceful and should have immediately educated the parents, instead of scaring their daughter to death even further. I’m sure their daughter has learned not to ask the police for any help.

  • Waltoy

    My bible say when you Sapare the rod u spoil the child, and the Police says when u use the rod u mistreating your child, But if you dont use the rod sometime by th time you child reach adults, the Police have them in Prison. Parents have to know how to handle theri children, because if u dont rule them today they sure will rulel u tomorrow, and that is a fact.

    • Charles U. Farley


  • Carolee

    #1 we try to teach our children who to trust, please don’t make the police the bad guys, When this child gets a little bit older she might not seek help from the police and could get hurt.

    But on the other hand what to do with a child who acts up? The parents might have called and talked to someone at the police department and ask for help.

    The police officers where all wrong in arresting the parents. Show me where this child was endangered. The cops knew the mother was just trying to make this child behave, Where is abandonment ? I SEE A LAW SUIT HERE BIG TIME.

    Maybe since the child saw her parents get arrested she will realize it could happen to her or what would happen if mom and dad stay in jail.

    Parents get in touch with Super Nanny.

    • Carolee

      Cops where wrong big time.

  • Donna Sayles-Corbin

    Okay, so when she is older and is arrested for murder; remember her parents tried to do the right thing when she was 6. This is so far beyond stupid I can’t believe it. Now if these parents didn’t give a sh!t about their kid they would let her run a muck. “Lord, please grant me the ability to bottle common sense. Amen”

  • Margo

    When I was six years old, my mother brought me to a store and I was putting things in my pocket, not realizing that I was “stealing”. When we got home, my mother found all the stuff I put in my pocket and told me we were going for a ride. She had called the store ahead of time and they had a policeman standing there when we arrived. He told me that if I ever did anything like that again, I would go to jail and not see my mom & dad for a long time. Needless to say, it made a very good impression on me and I never stole anything again. So maybe the parents weren’t so bad. Hey…it worked for me.

  • Dan Te

    There’s no such thing as bad children….only bad parenting.

    • julie

      So am I to assume (from your comment that all bad children come from bad parents), your parents made no sense?

    • Nurse Lisa

      some children are indeed sociopaths – good parenting can’t fix everything.

  • Lori ann Brown

    I have an ex-friend who used to pretend to call the police to come pick up her son when he was 6-7 yrs old. He would beg her and tell her he would be good. It was horrible. I called her on it then eventually just stayed away. It was completely poor parenting on her part. He ended up in lots of trouble and was stabbed to death at age 18.

    • A Wood

      Hmmm, maybe if she actually would have called the police on his rather than threatening maybe he wouldn’t have been stabbed to deal at 18!

  • Believer

    A Mom

    Get your Bible read what it says about raising children and put it in practice for your life and your child’s life so when he/she becomes a teen he/she will a become productive member of this society not in jail

    • Reason

      Doesn’t the bible say I should kill my kid if they backtalk? Doesn’t the bible say I should take slaves as long as they are foreign? Does the bible say I should kill my daughter if she is not a virgin on her wedding night?

      There is no way I am using that book of violence and death as a measure of how to parent.

      • Amigwyn

        Why yes, it does speak of stoning your child for back talking or misbehaving, taking slaves and plundering villages as long as they are foreign, killing a woman if they are not a virgin before they are married as well as many other things BELIEVERS do not BELIEVE in anymore. It’s very comical to me that they can pick and chose what parts of the Bible they want to believe in and call it faith. A lot even talk about how times are different and such … but I thought God was all-knowing? Wouldn’t he have set forth rules that would be applicable in ALL times? Oh.. my bad. That must have been Satan to make me type that…

  • Mr. Armenia

    sounds like they were arrested because they are spanish

    • smith

      Please always pulling a race thing! Really!

    • junior

      So what if they were, stupid parents, can’t even raise their own kids anymore.

  • 6zh7

    The police are not there to “scare” your kid. Stop involving the police in your pathetic lives. It’s your kid, and your problem, not the cops.

    • Charles Rigdon

      Really? Let’s examine your statement. Who comes to arrest you if you punish your kid for misbehaing? Oh my! it’s the POLICE! Who provides security in school and arrests your kid if they misbehave in school?? OOoHHhh my! It’s the POLICE!! The only reason they arrested the couple is because the lazy buffoons were upset about having their doughnut time interfered with!

    • Amigwyn

      6zh7, You’re a moron. As was pointed out, it is the police that keep law and order in the communities. I can promise you that if half your neighbors were now “SCARED” of going to jail – or a confrontation with the police – your neighborhood would not be safe to enter into let alone sleep there at night.

      And as a parent I will use ANY TOOL NECESSARY to ensure my child is an upstanding and contributing person in society I don’t care if your small brain can comprehend it or not!

  • Arlene

    I think the parents intentions were good, but i would’ve chosen counceling.

    • Dy

      Some parents are at a loss when raising their kids; everyone as a new parent doesn’t have all the answers or makes all the right decisions. The police should have given them advice instead of arresting them.

      • Macie Joe

        they were hardly new parents…the girl is 6 years old. Any advice that the police could have given could of been taken the wrong way by the parents, who would then turn around and sue the police when they didn’t end up with a “good” kid . Unfortunatly, in this society, the cops can not afford the liability. It is not their responsibility to hand out parenting advice. The most they could have done was referred them to social services.

  • Mr. Armenia

    These parents need to sue the NYPD. They did not do anything wrong at all.

    Police Commisioner Ray Kelly needs to fire these rouge cops at once.

    • Boy Loma

      Yes, the cops over reacted, they should have not embarrassed the parents in front of the child, they should have played along, advised the child in a friendly manner and away from hearing distance from the child advise the parents that the child was too young to be scared that way. And send them home a happy family. Children needs to be disciplined anyway before they grow up undisciplined, uncontrollable and a menace to society.

  • L.D.

    i have a 7 year old, and i’ve been where these parents have been, my child has a very bad temper and misbehaves alot, i also have a 4 year old who is a saint, so children being bad is not all on the parents and their parenting, i raise my kids to be repsectful and sometimes no matter what you tell them at that age, they think on their own and do what they want to see if they can get away with it, i have also told my child many times when she was bad that if she didnt stop misbehaving i was gonna call the police, and ive also had the thought in my head to do the same, wondering if the police would help if i was to bring her to the station, now i know it wouldnt, i love my kids and i am an excellent mother, but kids these days once they are in school, come home with such attitudes and they learn so much “bad” from school, and then they bring it home, i think the police should have helped those people, not arrested them

  • Josh

    It may not have been “smart” parenting, but it sure wasn’t a criminal act. The nanny state police appear to have over-reacted… again.

  • fern

    I love pigs especially when they become pork.

    • NYC

      hey,, take your vile threats & shove ’em hope u get called out by au thorities.
      These people are the first YOU’D CALL IF YOUR @$$ was in trouble.

      • NYC

        That comment was reply to “FERN
        Enough cops are being shot left & right these days.
        If one out of a thousand isn’t a good cop, that doesn’t make all bad…

      • Same old same old

        Of course we would call the cops if we needed their help, but that doesn’t mean that all cops do a satisfactory job or that we aren’t entitled to be disappointed with their actions. As for your bad cop stats, try 1 out of 10 if not more.

  • rds

    jer is a pig trying to put lipstick on himself
    the couple was stupid to think that pigs are friends – and the pigs proved it

    lets face it pigs are not the brightest bulbs (average iq is 92)

    everybody keep your attention on this case or they will get railroaded

    now you want to see some real corruption at work watch the judge

  • Steve

    Another outstanding ‘mother of the year’ nominee.
    From what i understand teaching your (6 year old) kid to behave is the responsibility of the parent?
    Nice…thought Mommy….unfortunately if something ever happen to your kid in the future someone would have dug up that ‘Precinct Speech’ and blamed NYC for not doing anything.

  • dwight

    Bull is right, parents walk in ask police this where bad people go to,captain stupid should have yes,and explain it the six year old, not arrest the loving parents.

  • effie

    Wow to me it is nutz these parents r trying to keep there kid from one day ending up in jail.. I can not believe these cops did what they did. There r so many parents that don’t care n let there kids do what ever n these kids r who the cops end up arrresting they should b happyyyy that there r still some parents that care.. wow honestly this is y so many ppl hate cops cause a lot of them think they are god.. only in New York maybe that’s why NY has such a high crime rate that the cops can not controll….

  • theopenpomegranate

    that’s extremely community-destroying response on behalf of the police. these people’s behavior did not merit arrest but maybe some short counseling and encouragement and connection to local services that could help them feel more skillful as parents. instead they created a whole debacle. a mountain out of a molehill. terrible! that family is going to be scarred for life, meanwhile– the police could have turned it into an opportunity to plant seeds of empowerment and familial peace. someone’s head should roll because of this.

  • Bartholomew Harte

    What Nimrods-They should have taken the child to Gracie Mansion
    Where the Real “BOOGy-Man Lives!!

  • Anonymous000

    They should not have been arrested. The parents were acting in good faith. I would dare say that they are good parents.

  • Deezie

    You what is amazing is that these child psychololgist always seem to have the perfect answer for responses to child misbehavior but in most cases they don’t have children. Further, I think that the parents in this case were doing what they felt would be a good lesson for this child. All children aren’t the same and waiting until this 6 year old is an out-of-control teenager to scare her straight is too late. Its apparent that this parents love their child and are taking measures to correct her behavior before she becomes too uncontrolable. Those officers who felt that they needed to be arrested were out of line.

    • L.D.

      i absolutely agree!!!!

  • Jennifer McGee Sheremetta


  • Joe

    This is bull. The cops will shoot your kid when they have to. Making a kid fear prison is good. The problem is our society doesn’t fear or know God or Jesus. We are to worried about offending others these days. The cops could have figured out something. Parents are always wrong for spanking but you will gladly watch them sell drugs and get killed since they fear nothing. You people are stupid God says spanking is fine. You are all confussed and dont know what is right and wrong anymore. Jesus is the answer. You are all okay with the fact God isnt welcome in schools and children without any dicipline. America is sad sad sad!!!

    • Spike

      So, you have private conversations with God and he told you it’s okay to hit your kid?? Anyway, if God or Jesus is the answer, why are there priests and ministers who do unspeakable things to children?

    • Katie

      So you want to bring religion into this? In the Bible it says to literally beat your children, that slavery is ok, and that men and women are not equals. I dont think God meant for any of that. The Bible has some good morales and stories but you have to take it with a grain of salt. It was written by people who interpreted it in their world.
      Back to the article, I think the parents had good intentions but an entirely wrong response. They could have easily just talked to her about it and maybe taken away a privelege or something like that. Yes they do stuff like this on tv but to older kids who are messing up their lives, not 6 year olds.

  • jer

    Parents need to STOP trying to scare or correct their children by the use of the Police. This could be one reason a lot of people do not like the police. If you use them to scare your child, don’t you think they may grow up with very little respect for the ones you used to scare your kids? Think about it people, the POLICE are there to help people, not to scare them.
    Whast stupid parents they are,

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