Toya Graham made a name for herself Monday night during the Baltimore riots when the mother of six caught her 16-year-old son Michael throwing rocks at police officers. Instead of waiting for authorities to arrest or punish him, Graham disciplined the teenager in front of the crowds at the scene and news cameras – earning a "mom of the year" award from the New York Post.
Though Graham got widespread praise and made an appearance on "CBS This Morning" Wednesday, some are questioning whether the mother’s severe punishment could be classified as child abuse.
“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. I wish I had more parents who took charge of their kids tonight,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Tuesday.
Those comments didn’t stop some denizens of the Twitterverse from condemning Graham’s actions, with many posting their opposition to the Baltimore mom for smacking her son on live television.
In another venue Toya Graham would have been arrested 4 child abuse. What we saw was the unpleasant side of discipline, sorely missing today
â€” Rose (@RCamsore) April 29, 2015
#momoftheyear Cudos to Toya Graham but know she could be charged 4 child abuse under current laws that prevent parents to discipline kids.
â€” Letetia Jackson (@letetiadj) April 29, 2015
Toya Graham is being praised for beating her son on television, but she committed child abuse publicly, and nobody is addressing that....
â€” Darian Graivshark (@dariangshark) April 29, 2015
We call Toya Graham a hero today but in any other case we'd call it child abuse. Are we hypocrites? #BaltimoreRiots
â€” omekongo (@omekongo) April 29, 2015
â€” RadioRiter (@RadioRiter) April 29, 2015
@claudiajordan The media's a mess. If Toya Graham's actions did not pertain to helping the cops, they would have arrested her for abuse.
â€” Queen (@iamQueensOnly) April 29, 2015
I bet America ain't calling Toya Graham's action child abuse tuhh!
â€” Damn Gina! (@NateAnto) April 29, 2015
Most of those observing the riots in Baltimore sided with Graham, with many tweeting their support for the single mother of six.
â€” M E L I S S A (@PennyDreadful81) April 28, 2015
â€” Robert (@nygreporter) April 28, 2015
â€” M E L I S S A (@PennyDreadful81) April 29, 2015
Graham told CBS she just feared for the safety of her son when she spotted him throwing rocks at police. "You will not be throwing rocks and stones at police officers. Who’s to say they don't have to come and protect me from something?" she added.
What did Graham have to say about the national attention she’s received?
“I don't feel like a hero. My intention was to get my son and have him be safe. I knew the whole thing was not safe,” she said.