Note: we are republishing this story amid recent reports that suggest student misbehavior is on the rise across the country due to the challenges of the pandemic and its effects on student learning. More on this here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/schools-student-misbehavior-remote-learning-covid-11639061247
According to parenting experts, a Ohio dad “publicly humiliated” his 10-year-old daughter by making her walk five miles to school after she was kicked off the school bus for bullying.
39-year-old Matt Cox explained in a Facebook post that his daughter, Kirsten, had been suspended from the school bus, and that it was the second time she’d been in trouble for name calling and blocking a student from getting off the bus.
He said in the video he posted on Facebook: “Today, my beautiful daughter is going to walk 5 miles to school in 36-degree weather. I know a lot of you parents are not going to agree with this, but that is all right. Because I am doing what I feel is right to teach my daughter a lesson and stop her from bullying.”
He said in the video that she told him he had to take her to school while she was suspended from the bus.
He stated: “As you see this morning, she is learning otherwise.”
Parenting experts have weighed in on the punishment, with Sue Scheff calling it “public humiliation.”
She told ABC News: “The internet can be so unforgiving, and your child will watch it over and over again online. It's like salt in an emotional wound, and the sting can take a long time to heal - especially when it's a parent that did the shaming.”
Dr Krystine Batcho, a professor of psychology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, echoed Sheff’s sentiments.
In response, Cox maintained that he believe children need to be held accountable for their actions.
“Am I a bully for making my daughter walk to school? No me holding my child accountable for her own actions and giving her a punishment does not mean I am a bully,” he wrote on Facebook. “It means I am a being a parent, a father trying to teach his daughter that life has consequences for our actions and that we have to be accountable for them.”
“I’m a dad trying to teacher his daughter it's not ok to be mean to others because words and actions can have lifelong effects and sometimes life-ending effects on others. Lastly I’m a father trying to teach his daughter not everything is just a right there are a lot of privileges in life and that we need to be grateful for them. None of that makes me a bully,” he added.
He stated that if he had to do it all over again, he “wouldn't do one thing differently.”
Speaking to ABC, Batcho said: “Shaming that is done by a parent or some other adult who is loved by and admired by a child, is, in a way, even worse than shaming by other children or someone a child doesn't care about. When a parent shames a child, that has a much more powerful emotional impact, and it's very often remembered for life.”
Some parents maintained that Cox went too far with the punishment, with one person writing: “Matt, do yourself and your daughter a big favor, seek counseling from a qualified family psychologist/psychiatrist who understands bullying as well as the adverse impact/implications when one goes ‘public’ on social media in a big way about their child.”
Another commented: “That Dad is a true example of a bully!!! Children learn behaviors from home!!!”
Matt stated that he knew not many parents would agree with his actions, but that he was “doing what I think is right to teach my daughter a lesson to stop her from bullying.”
Cox’s video also showed him talking to his daughter and explaining how her actions led to the punishment.
He stated that since the punishment, whenever she sees bad behavior on TV, she tells him: “That's bullying that's going to hurt somebody's feelings.”
Kirsten has since apologized to the other student.
Sources: Daily Mail