Dad Forces 5-Year-Old To Do 'Bear Crawls' in Extreme Heat For Making a Simple Mistake Every Kid Has

Horrifying 27

In 91-degree Gulfport, Florida, police say Irving Mauraice Millard, 32, punished a five-year-old by making him do “bear crawls” for several blocks on the hot pavement. The kiddo was “crying in pain” and “sweating profusely” by the time law enforcement arrived, according to the arrest affidavit.

So what did the kid do that was so bad that Sgt. Michael Vandenberg wrote, “There was visible redness and swelling to both hands and blister beginning to form”? He forgot his shoes. And the worst part is that some of Millard’s neighbors say this isn’t the first time they’ve seen this kind of thing.

One woman name Laura said that she refers to him as the “drill sergeant dad,” and that she saw him forcing another child to do the same bear crawl punishment down their street only weeks ago. “That’s exactly the kind of thing you’re not supposed to be doing,” she said, while declining to show her face on camera.

A local mother, Sander Myles, agreed that the punishment did not match the crime. “Just because they lost some shoes? Something that could be replaced? Heck, I’d have bought him some shoes … just ridiculous and very unbelievable ... never would I resort to that kind of punishment for my child.”

Somehow I think this has nothing to do with shoes and everything to do with using fear and dominance to exert control over a young child. In other words, it’s child abuse, and that’s exactly what police charged him with. By Thursday night, Millard was bonded out of the Pinellas County Jail, which makes me scared and sad for any kids under his “care.”

If he could treat a five-year-old child so terribly for forgetting his shoes, how much more might he terrorize him now after being arrested for it? Or you know, maybe this abuser will be the exception to the pattern of abuser blaming their victims when they get caught.

Either way, I hope that the authorities keep an eye on this case, and remove the kids from the home if the abuse continues. No child deserves that -- for any reason.

What do you think -- is this punishment or abuse?

Image via Meg Wills/Flickr

discipline, child abuse, crime, in the news


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amazz... amazzonia

Why the he'll that neighbor that saw him do it to another child weeks ago didn't call the police then!!!! I hate the kind of people that see  things an  Don  do anything!!&

Shannon Elysabeth Mundorff

^ agreed. If you see abuse, call the cops. Not that they do too much, as we see this guy got right out and went home where he probably beat his kid for getting him in trouble. And I doubt he will see a day in jail for this either.

nonmember avatar Jan

I'm not sure if this qualifies as abuse in my book. For all we know, there could have been underlying situations that led up to this punishment. Also, ultimately, the media misquotes "witnesses" and twists stories around so none of us for sure know exactly whether this was just about shoes or if these parents have been buying several pairs of shoes a month and the child continues to purposely throw them out or give them away or leave them behind. Making a child bear crawl? I can think of much worse examples of child abuse. The heat? Well if you live in FL then you aren't exactly affected by that heat like us hear in Indy would be, you are used to it. As for the cop .. for all we know Dad told him good day officer, don't need your help thanks ... and we all know there are punk cops out there that refused to be told anything and dramatically escalate minor incidences ...

nonmember avatar Jan

Shannon, the state would automatically execute a restraining order between the father and child (or perhaps include other children) without even knowing as much as detail of the situation. Hopefully the father did commit a crime so that he didn't go through all this punishment for no reason, huh?

nonmember avatar Emmie

I am not opposed to a well-timed swat on the behind here and there, but bear crawls on HOT pavement crosses the line in my opinion. It's not only physically painful, but humiliating as well. If this is what you need to do to get your point across to a 5 year-old, then it wouldn't hurt to take some time to re-think your parenting style.

nonmember avatar Mandi

@Jan: Guessing you are the abusive type yourself. This is a sickening way to treat your child, especially when they're still so small! You're instinct as a parent should be to love and want to protect your child, not to make and watch them suffer! This 100% ABUSE and I'd call the cops on anyone I saw doing something like this to a young child in a heartbeat! You have to be pretty damn heartless to think that this is ok

Bert Dawson

kids need to be removed asap.

Taisie Taisie

OMG Jan, I cannot believe that you do not feel this is child abuse. That just blows my mind.

And as far as your comment goes about the heat not bothering people in FLA? What? I've lived in FLA, and now live in AZ, and trust me, the heat does still get to me.

Did you not notice the part about his hands getting blistered? Obviously the pavement was that hot! Any "punishment" that causes blistering to a child's body from heat, is definitely abuse.

I am usually very much a "live and let live" person, but honestly, I think you need your head checked.

Bruic... Bruickson

@ Jan, just because a person lives in a hot and humid climate and are "used to it" does not mean they won't be affected by it.  Hypothermia is extremely dangerous, especially for a young child. I've lived in the south my entire life and you NEVER get used to the extreme heat and humidity. 

I believe in discipline but this dad took it too far. I don't care how horrible my child acts, I would never put her life in danger or torture her just to prove a point. Time out, loss of privileges, or a swat on the butt would have been more appropriate and effective.  The only thing this dad taught his child is to fear him. I want my daughter to respect me, not fear me. And all of this happened over a pair of shoes. That poor kid. 

nonmember avatar Heather

I agree with Jan! There is far worse and bear crawl is a form of exercise. My own kids do it in PE and yes sometime their hands turn red and may develop a blister. This is from them not being use to the pressure on their hands. As for the sweating, the child is physical moving in the heat. i would sweat just walking!!! I don't think the full story is exposed and it sounds like a few nosy neighbors looking for their 15 minutes. FYI Emmie- a "swat" on the bottom purpose is to cause physical pain. Child punishment is a parents choice as they see fit and there are many ways of doing so. Just because you don't agree to it doesn't mean it's necessarily abuse.

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