Mid-South mother says discipline mistaken for child abuse

Nicole Wright
Nicole Wright

(WMC-TV) -  A Mid-South mother said a moment of tough love has been misconstrued as child abuse after her son's coach said the mother kicked her 13-year-old in the face over Gatorade.

According to a police affidavit, a coach at Memphis Athletic Ministries said Nicole Wright asked him if he gave her son Gatorade after a game.

When the coach replied, "no," he told police Wright punched the boy with a "closed fist in the facial area ... grabbed him by his shirt, throwing him on the ground while kicking him in the facial area with her shoe."

Wright was charged with child abuse following the incident.

"That broke my heart," said Wright.

Wright said there is another side to this story.  She said her son left the Ball Road gymnasium with his coat wrapped around a huge bin of powdered Gatorade.

"I asked him where he got it, and he said he got it from coach," said Wright.  "So I went back to ask, because I don't want anybody leaving with anything, because I'm not that type of person."

Wright said when the coach told her he did not give her son the Gatorade, she had one thought.

"This gym has helped them, put countless hours in with them," she said.  "And then he turned around and did this?"

Wright said her son has long-term disciplinary problems, including threatening his teachers and bullying his little brother.  When she learned the 6-1, 200 pound 13-year-old was stealing from the program, she disciplined him.

"He fell, and when he fell, I grabbed him," said Wright.  "I don't know where I grabbed him, it went to fast and I pushed him with my foot telling him to get up."

Wright said she did not kick her son in the face with her boots as the police report indicates.

Wright said she has tried other disciplines, like taking away his allowance, but it does not work.

"I'm trying to tell him and show him this is not the way, because he's missing out and I'm missing out," said Wright.  "He needs to be somewhere where he's like in a Scared Straight program."

The boy is now with his father.  Wright said she thinks her son missed his father and was acting out to get attention.

Wright is due in court in February.

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