Mom teaches son lesson about bullying with 'I am a bully' shirt

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Woman has son wear bully t-shirt
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When this mom learned her son was a school bully, she had him walk in his victim's shoes.

SPLENDORA, Texas -- A Splendora, Texas mother who heard her son had been bullying kids at school came up with a way to teach him a lesson, but not all agreed it was a good idea.

"He was calling other boys 'stupid', calling them 'idiots,'" said Star, who wanted to be referred to by her first name.

When Star learned what her son was doing, she had him wear a t-shirt that read "I am a bully" to school on Friday.

"I'm a very old-school parent," said Star. "I don't coddle my children. I don't sugarcoat the world to them."

She even posted the pictures on Facebook, but she told sister station KTRK, she did not do that to embarrass her fifth-grader.

"I posted it to reach out to the parents of any of the kids my son may have bullied so that each one of them could get a personal apology," said Star.

Negative comments forced her to remove the post, but she stands by her decision.

"I wanted to know what he learned from it and he said, 'I learned that I didn't like the way that that I felt and I don't want anybody else to feel that way because of me,'" Star said. "That's exactly what I wanted him to take from it."

Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a child psychiatrist at Baylor College of Medicine, had a different opinion.

"I don't think it requires the scarlet letter, searing the letter 'B' on his forehead," said Dr. Pesikoff.

Pesikoff says he understands why Star would be upset about her son bullying other kids, but says this shirt could do more harm than good.

"Not a good idea to embarrass your child and solidify a negative identity in an elementary school child," said Dr. Pesikoff. "She needs to find somebody to help her and I think the school is one resource."

But Star spoke with her son's counselor and teachers at Greenleaf Elementary and she says they supported her decision.

"They all were 100 percent on board. They understood why I was doing it and that, for my son, this is what works," said Star.

Splendora Independent School District sent KTRK the following statement:

"Parents have the rights to make important decisions and take certain actions on behalf of their child. This parent met with our counselor at Greenleaf Elementary School to discuss the student wearing the "I am a Bully" t-shirt. The counselor, parent, and student met with all three of the student's teachers prior to entering the classroom. The parent explained her rationale for the student wearing the shirt to the teachers and counselor

Ensuring a safe, physical, emotional, and social environment is one of Splendora ISD's Core Principles. With that in mind, our counselor checked on the child throughout the day on Friday and plans to follow up with the student and the parent early this week."

Star doesn't believe a follow-up is necessary.

"He'll survive. And he's already been treating his sisters better. He's already been treating his cousins better. He learned from it. That's all that matters," said Star.


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