Kaytlen Lopan, 13, and an 11-year-old friend met a 3-year-old girl at McDonald’s and proceeded to cut off her ponytail. Lopan was charged with assault and ordered to serve 30 days in detention, pay restitution, and perform 276 hours of community service. But juvenile judge Scott Johansen offered her mother Valerie Bruno a unique alternative: Cut your daughter’s hair in exchange for a lighter sentence.

MSNBC reports:

“I’m going to give you this option: I will cut that by 150 hours if you want to cut her hair right now,” Johansen said.

“Me, cut her hair?” Bruno asked.

“Right now,” the judge said. “I’ll go get a pair of scissors and we’ll whack that ponytail off.”

(Mindy) Moss, the victim’s mother, was in the courtroom and fully supported the penalty. She even spoke up when she didn’t believe Bruno had cut enough of Lopan’s ponytail off.

“Satisfied? Is it short enough?” Johansen asked Moss.

“No,” she replied. “My daughter’s hair that had never been cut, that was down to (the middle of her back), was cut up to here.”

“Take it off clear up to the rubberband,” the judge told Bruno, who protested that the scissors he’d given her weren’t up to the task.

“Take a little bit at a time,” Johansen said.

Speaking to the Deseret News, Bruno said she made the wrong decision:

“I guess I should have went into the courtroom knowing my rights, because I felt very intimidated,” she said. “An eye for an eye, that’s not how you teach kids right from wrong.”

While I agree with Bruno, I believe the judge’s alternative was admirable. 1) It offered the girl a way to spend less time in a detention center. 2) It allowed her to feel the humiliation the little girl possibly felt. 3) Maybe feeling the helplessness when someone older and stronger has complete control over your well-being, as Lopan did when she held scissors to a 3-year-old’s head, will stop her from doing the same or worse to another child.

There are, of course, specifics we don’t know about the child’s mental health or any previous behavioral problems. But from the outside looking in, I say the punishment is accurate. I also find it extremely interesting that Bruno is making the media rounds as if she and her daughter are the victims in this situation.

Weigh in, Clutchettes: Would you cut your child’s hair if she/he had bullied a much younger child and it would keep her/him out of a detention center?

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  • If I had done such a thing, my mother would have cut my hair off before the law had anything to say about it. She also would have tanned my butt and sentenced me to at least a week’s confinement in my bedroom with no electronics.

    And while I think if I had a daughter, I would not spank, there would’ve been loss of hair and groundage before we ever went to the judge.

    And also perhaps a counselor.

  • parent

    outside of the fact that no one in family court system has any civil rights in the courtroom, the judge is all powerful in that court system, an can order events and happenings that would never be tolerated in a civil or criminal courtroom, the brat that assaulted the three year old and whose mother neglects her daughters other behavior, threatening rape etc.. dismissing it as a prank,..ironic how the media and others make the judge the criminal, the mother was given a CHOICE if Sharia law were in effect the outcome would have been worse.. hopefully the case will be reviewed and the two bullies will get a tougher sentence with no deal.

    • Jenn

      A.) Your post makes no sense. B.) I cant figure out why you mentioned Sharia C.) You probably know little if anything about Sharia law because there’s no real application in this situation.

  • me

    If you read other stories it mentions that the same little girl had pled guilty to making phone calls to a teen in Colorado in which she threatened to rape and mutilate the girl. I can’t find any other information about that particular case but she seems like a straight up sociopath. This sentence is common sense to me, my own mother would have punished me that way. The little girl is most likely not even as scared as her mother claims but sociopaths are great actors so she’s putting on a little show now but I wouldn’t be surprised to see her name in headlines later.