By Rhonda Ramsey,
P.O.V. Contributing Writer
Utah woman Valerie Bruno is filing a formal complaint after a judge encouraged her to cut off her daughter's ponytail in court.
Bruno's daughter, Kaytlen Lopan, was charged with assault last March after she and her friend cut several inches of hair from the head of a 3-year-old girl at a McDonald's restaurant.
Lopan, 13, and her 11-year-old friend did not even know the 3-year-old before the hair-cutting incident at Mcdonald’s but “befriended” the toddler just before chopping off her hair.
District Juvenile Judge Scott Johansen initially sentenced the 13-year-old to pay restitution to the victims, spend 30 days in detention and serve 276 hours of community service.
Then the judge said that if Lopan were his daughter, he may not want her spending too much time with the youth "work crew." Which brought Johansen to the following option:
"I will cut [the community service] by 150 hours if you want to cut her hair right now," the judge told Bruno. "I'll go get a pair of scissors and we'll whack that ponytail off."
Bruno agreed. However, after she made the cut, Mindy Moss, the mother of the 3-year-old victim, complained that Bruno had not chopped off enough hair.
For bullying a 3-year-old, I am not sure what I would do with a 13-year-old, if I were responsible for the punishment. In this case, the judge gave the option of hacking off the ponytail, all the way up to the rubber band; would this teach the girl a lesson she would never forget? Probably so. But not everyone agrees that this is the way to handle these situations.
Some call this punishment, which has become a trend, instant gratification, cruel and humiliating. Some firmly believe, that hair-cutting, sleeping in doghouses and walking through town with embarrassing signs are perfect punishments.
What do you think? Are some crimes worth an alternate punishment instead of jail? If so, is something like cutting off a 13-year-old’s ponytail “too cruel”?