A Republican lawmaker in the Maryland General Assembly said it might be a good idea to take food stamps away from parents if their kids are involved in riots.
"I think that you could make the case that if there is a failure to do proper parenting and allowing this stuff to happen, is there an opportunity for a month to take away your food stamps," Maryland state Del. Pat McDonough said Wednesday during a radio broadcast clipped by The Intercept.
"It would never get past the legislature because it seems a little bit harsh, but I think the principle is there has got to be some way to connect to the lack of parenting," McDonough continued.
Violence has rocked Baltimore since 25-year-old Freddie Gray died in police custody on April 19. Rioters looted and burned businesses Monday after Gray's funeral, prompting Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to call in the National Guard.
State lawmakers don't have much power to tinker with rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is overseen by the federal government, and the Maryland General Assembly is out of session until next year. But McDonough told The Huffington Post the principle of penalizing parents for their kids' behavior is strong. He noted that the city of Baltimore already has a law that fines parents if their children violate a curfew.
"In Baltimore, the juvenile curfew has penalties for the parents," McDonough said. "They’re financial penalties, which could be the same as taking away your benefits because it’s impacting you economically, so I’m not establishing anything new in principle."
Baltimore police arrested 235 people on Monday night, 34 of whom were juveniles.
McDonough praised Toya Graham, the Baltimore mom who forcibly removed her teenage son from the scene of violent protests on Monday afternoon.
Hear McDonough's comments above.