Mom of the year? Why a Baltimore woman disciplined her son on TV

After reportedly catching her son rioting in Baltimore, one mother aggressively disciplines him and tells him to go home. How should parents respond to rioting children?

Hailed as “Mom of the Year,” one Baltimore woman took matters into her own hands when she allegedly discovered her masked son participating in the Baltimore riots on Monday afternoon.

The video has gone viral, gaining national attention as the woman’s visceral reaction is largely condoned by the public. With riots ravaging the city, how should parents respond if their children wish to participate?

The woman in the video, clad in yellow, reportedly finds her son, clad in black, in the midst of the riots. Baltimore’s ABC affiliate WMAR filmed the encounter, and reported that the mother caught her son throwing rocks at the police.

“That didn’t sit well with her,” WMAR-TV reports. “The video shows the mother repeatedly striking her boy, chasing him as he tries to walk away.”

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts mentioned the video in an overnight news conference.

“And if you saw in one scene, you had a mother who grabbed their child who had a hood on his head and she started smacking him on the head because she was so embarrassed,” Mr. Batts said, as reported by CBS Baltimore. “I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight.”

On social media, viewers refer to the woman as “mom of the year.” Many show their support and either they or their parents would have reacted in a similar way.

With at least 15 officers being injured, looting and arson across the city, and other acts of violence, it is understandable that parents would want their children to stay away from the riots. However, some parents allow and even support their children’s decision to riot. Deborah Orr of The Guardian interviewed Ryan, a teenager who participated in riots and was included in the documentary “My Child, The Rioter,” about his rioting experience.

Ryan said he rioted for political reasons. "There is such a thing as committing a crime for the right reasons," he told The Guardian. He also said that if there was no change, he would do it again. He was the only teenager interviewed who claimed to have no regrets, as well as the only rioter included in the documentary who was not arrested, charged, and convicted. 

Ryan’s parents reportedly supported him, even in the face of criticism. Ms. Orr wrote:

It is because they are proud of him. ‘He's out to make a difference’. He is a political protester, in their eyes, and his, not a criminal rioter, and the family is frustrated that this message is being buried, because the establishment does not want to look at ‘deeper issues, social injustices, all that’.

But ultimately, the question remains of whether rioting accomplishes anything. Across Baltimore, advocates for social change are calling for nonviolent protesting, in spite of frustration with police brutality. The riots occurred after the Monday funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. The city asked for assistance and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in Baltimore Monday night, due to the riots.

“It’s idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you’re going to make life better for anybody,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in The Baltimore Sun.

At this point, at least one Baltimore parent agrees.

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