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

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

SPLENDORA, Texas -- A Texas mother who heard her son had been bullying kids at school came up with a creative way to teach him a lesson.

"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," Star said. "I don't coddle my children. I don't sugar coat the world to them."

She even posted the pictures on Facebook, but she said she did not do that to embarrass her Greenleaf Elementary 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," she said.

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 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."

Eyewitness News also spoke with Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a child psychiatrist at Baylor College of Medicine.

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

Dr. Pesikoff says he understands why Star would be upset about her son bullying other kids, but he says the 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," he said. "She needs to find somebody to help her, and I think the school is one resource."

Star said she 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," she said. "They understood why I was doing it, and that for my son, this is what works."

Splendora ISD sent ABC13 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," she said. "He's already been treating his cousins better. He learned from it. That's all that matters."


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