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Should This Mother Be Allowed To Force Her Kids To Wear Shirts That Say “Thief” & “Bully” On Them To School?

Submitted by on March 18, 2013 – 11:08 amOne Comment
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Recently, a woman by the name of Jessica Rocha from Colorado was having trouble controlling her children. Specifically, she couldn’t get her 8-year-old stepdaughter Aurora to stop stealing things from stores. And, she couldn’t get her son Xavier to stop bullying kids at school. So, she tried everything to get them to stop. She grounded them, she took away their things, and she even prohibited them from playing sports. But, Auruora continued to steal, and Xavier continued to bully. So, she came up with something else to try and stop both children from misbehaving—she planned on forcing them to wear T-shirts that said “Thief” and “Bully” on them to school until they agreed to stop. Or, at least, that was her plan.

Aurora actually made it to school one day with the words “I steal!!!” written on her T-shirt (you can see the rest of the message in the photo above). But, her teacher forced her to cover it up, because she said that Aurora was humiliated and was being teased for wearing the shirt. But, from that day on, Aurora stopped stealing. So, Jessica decided to try the same thing with Xavier. Only, this time, the school wouldn’t allow her to do it. They told her that she could not force her kids to wear demeaning shirts to school.

“I respect her right to do what’s best for her family,” school superintendent Ron Echols said. “But, I wish she would leave the school out of it. We cannot support something that is demeaning to kids.”

Does the school really have the right to tell Jessica that she cannot do that, though? She doesn’t think so. So, she’s pushing for the school to allow her to continue making these T-shirts for her children, until they learn their lesson. And, we can’t say that we blame her. These are, after all, her kids. So, although the shirts are demeaning, they’re being used as a teaching tool, since nothing else is working for Jessica. But, at the same time, we do see where the school is coming from here. If the T-shirts are causing additional problems—for instance, if Aurora and Xavier are being bullied as a result of them—then they can’t allow the kids to wear the shirts.

So, how about this? Why doesn’t the school partner up with Jessica to find a better alternative to the T-shirts? With Jessica’s permission, why doesn’t the school continue to take away privileges, like play time or recess time, in order to teach them a lesson? Or, if that’s not acceptable to both parties, why doesn’t the school find some other form of punishment for stealing and bullying that might work? The key here is that the school shouldn’t simply tell Jessica that she can’t discipline her children in a way that’s not acceptable to them. The school needs to work with her as best they can to fix the problem. Otherwise, it could turn into an even bigger problem down the road. And, isn’t that what both Jessica and the school are trying to avoid?

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