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Portsmouth mom charged with neglect after locking son outside

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Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-17 19:17:16-04

A Portsmouth mother is facing child neglect charges after police say she locked her son outside the family's home for several hours.

Tamiko Jones exclusively told NewsChannel 3 she wasn't neglecting her son when she locked him outside.

"I locked my son outside while he was outside with other children, with the police outside patrolling the area," said Jones.  "So if I really thought he was in danger, I would not have done that."

The mother of four said she locked her son outside as a lesson in discipline, not abuse.  Now, she is facing child neglect charges and she cannot have contact with her son until Friday.

"They think your mom is not a good mom and they're saying she could possibly hurt you," Jones said her friend who is keeping her son told him.

"And he said 'well who do we need to talk to so I could tell them she's a good mom?'"

Jones said Sunday evening, her eight-year-old son Derrick got in trouble after an argument with some neighborhood kids. She told Derrick to come back in the house.  When he didn't listen, she said she decided to lock him out for a while.

"Then a little while later, Derrick knocked on the door and said 'I have to use the bathroom.' I ignored him. He knocked on the door and said 'I urinated on myself.' I ignored him," she said.

Soon after, Jones got a call from the Portsmouth police officer who patrols the apartment complex. She said he confronted her.

"[He said] something like 'what kind of mother would leave her son outside when he's urinated on himself?' And I said 'well sir, we choose to discipline our son the way we choose so that when he grows up, you won’t have to discipline him.'"

Jones said the two went back and forth over the phone. She said she called 911 to intervene as she unlocked the door. Before she knew it, she said more officers showed up to arrest her.

"All he saw was that the boy urinated on himself and he's locked outside," said Jones.  "He didn't see any of the other stuff and he made a decision, a life-altering decision, off of that moment."

Jones said the ordeal is devastating not just because she can't see her son, but because she's dedicated her life to helping children. Jones is in school to become a teacher.

"This house is a safe-haven," said Jones.  "[Neighborhood children] know they can come here and get a hug."

Jones and her husband have never faced child abuse or neglect charges in the past.  She's praying she can overcome these charges.

"All of the charges are opposite of who I am," Jones said.