She allegedly threatened to "embarrass" her son over his behavior, police say

By Chris Harris
November 09, 2016 04:13 PM
Joyce Sweetheart Cole - News
Credit: Cobb County Police Department

A 32-year-old Georgia woman was arrested on child cruelty charges after she allegedly stripped her 11-year-old son naked and forced him to walk outside his elementary school naked as punishment, PEOPLE confirms.

Sgt. Dana Pierce of the Cobb County Police Department tells PEOPLE Joyce Sweetheart Cole was detained on Nov. 1. She was released on $5,000 bail later that same day.

Pierce says Cole was called in to her son’s elementary school over a month ago following a bullying incident that involved a female student. Joyce allegedly threatened her son, saying she would “embarrass” him if he ever started trouble at school again, Pierce says.

The morning of Halloween, Cole’s son allegedly got into another dispute with the girl and kicked her, Pierce says. Cole was allegedly called in to a meeting about the boy’s disciplinary issues, after which she allegedly carried out her threat.

“The meeting ends and the parent stripped the 11-year-old of his clothing and sent him on out to her car in the parking lot,” Pierce alleges. “The school’s staff, including several teachers, went to the 11-year-old’s aid, trying to clothe and cover him so he could avoid being embarrassed.”

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Cole allegedly struck her son in the head with an open hand while walking behind him in the parking lot, Pierce says.

Pierce alleges Cole drove off with her son after parading him nude in front of all of his classmates. Before reaching their home, Cole pulled the car over.

“Just prior to arriving at their apartment complex, she again told him to get out of the car and he was told to walk home, into the apartment complex, without clothes on,” Pierce alleges.

It was unclear Wednesday whether Cole has retained an attorney who could comment on her behalf. Cole has yet to enter a plea to the charges against her.

All three of Cole’s children, including the alleged victim, are being held in state custody because of the alleged incident.