Honk if this mom went too far making failing son wear sign

Ok, folks, you want parents to hold their kids accountable. Is this parent going too far?

A Tiger mother in Florida is making her teenage son stand on the corner with a sign that says: “GPA 1.22 … honk if I need education.”

I am not a fan of shame as a motivator, although I know it is common in other cultures. (See our discussion on the Tiger mom controversy.)

According to the AJC:

Ronda Holder says she and the boy’s father have tried everything to get their 15-year-old to shape up academically. They’ve offered help, asked to see homework, grounded, lectured him and confiscated his cell phone. James Mond III’s indifference at a school meeting last week was the final straw. The next day, Holder made the sign and made her son wear it for nearly four hours.

Experts criticized the move as humiliating and ineffective, and someone reported Holder to the Department of Children and Families.

Holder insists she’s fighting for her child’s education.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

60 comments Add your comment

Dr NO

February 21st, 2011
2:25 pm

Nope…the mom didnt go far enough. The only thing these little out of control disrespectful monster understand is negative reinforcement. This mollycoddling, rear-end kissing “positive” reinforcement doesnt work.

Hopefully Mom and Pop will think of some other intereting embarrassing situations for this little pain in the rumpus.

HS Public Teacher

February 21st, 2011
2:28 pm

WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE???? We do not know the specifics and besides, it isn’t our business. At least from the outside, it appears that the mom is doing SOMETHING – which is better than about 80% of the moms in the Atlanta area!

I would suggest that the next step for her son is to kick him out of the house. Let him live on his own a while and see what type of job a 1.2 gpa will get him!

www.honeyfern.org

February 21st, 2011
2:33 pm

Here is a better, longer version of the story that includes a video with the mom talking (scroll down):
http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/02/tampa_mom_makes_son_wear_honk.html

Further comments here: http://honeyfern.ning.com/profiles/blogs/public-shaming-good-results?xg_source=activity

Stephanie

February 21st, 2011
2:38 pm

When will an individual become responsible for his/her education and success? At what age do we stop spoon-feeding students? Wake up and do your homework! Kids in America are spoiled! Teachers get blamed if little Johnny doesn’t feel like working hard. It’s sickening. Johnny better get used to saying “Want fries with that?”

This mom did what she had to do. I hope it shocks the boy into doing what’s best for his future.

Jan

February 21st, 2011
2:40 pm

As I have told my kids many time, there are consequences based on your decisions. Some decisions and the resulting consequences are good and others are bad. You decide which kind of consequence you want and I will provide it.

Kudos to these parents for stepping up to the plate. No other offer for assistance or consequence seemed to matter to the brat. So it is time to use the only currency left, humiliation.

A. L. Gordon

February 21st, 2011
2:41 pm

I don’t understand why anyone would think this is going TOO far. So, would you rather her do nothing and then he become OUR (society’s) responsibility? Oh, we should spare his feelings, and let him fail out of school, get on welfare (that our tax dollars pay for) or go to jail (that our tax dollars pay for).
Yes, much better tactic.

I don’t think PURPOSEFUL ridicule is acceptable; verbal abuse to children, things done to kill their child like spirit is not right. An effort to expose self-imposed mediocrity, a refusal to work to their potential is more than right; it sets him up (hopefully) to understand that he must succeed, he must do better.

Where are our priorities? We’re more concerned about the boy’s SELF esteem that we are a parent who is working her butt off to ensure her son doesn’t become a statistic.

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Stacey

February 21st, 2011
2:56 pm

I have no problem at all with it. As a parent, I know my son’s abilities and potential and am able to judge when he is truly struggling and when he’s being lazy. According to an article I read about this case, this kid’s parents had tried a variety of punishments to no avail. There are far more important things to me in preparing my kid for the future than protecting his feelings.

Teacher Reader

February 21st, 2011
2:59 pm

This mom is in a no win situation. If the boy fails out of school and doesn’t graduate, society will blame the parent. She tries to do something to help her child, after taking things away from him, and society is saying that she is harming her child.

I believe that the parent is doing the best that she knows how and is wanting her son to receive an education. Answering 4 questions on the Florida state test and having a 1.22 GPA is not putting forth any amount of effort on the child’s part. If the child has a learning disability, why isn’t the school helping the boy.

I say go MOM and DAD!!! I honk for the parents for allowing their son the opportunity to think about what he is doing with his life and putting the responsibility on to him, as it should be at his age.

Robert

February 21st, 2011
3:04 pm

I agree this mother didn’t go too far. You have to find a way to get the child’s attention. If this works for her, great job on her part. Better to hurt his feelings now than someone else hurt them (and him) later.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
3:06 pm

Did she just adopt a “15 year old” son with a piss-poor GPA? What has she been doing prior to this? Prior to him being a 15 year old? Or 14 year old? Or 13 year old? smh…

Ashley

February 21st, 2011
3:15 pm

Kudos Mom I’d say put this woman on a juvenile court bench and let her dispense this type of punishment to more unruly obnoxious kids. Sometimes “go to your room or time out doesn’t work, and if todays kids are anything like us when we were teenager, they don’t like being humilated in front of their own peers.

SMH

February 21st, 2011
3:30 pm

I say, “GOOOOOO, MAMA!” That’s right! It really ticks me off when these cotton-pickin’ psychologists criticize parents when they have no truly effective options for the parents. Time-outs and therapy do NOT work for some kids. It was a good old-fashioned paddling that my mother gave me in front of all of my teachers that changed my course of life when I dared to change a D to B on my report card. Was I embarrassed? Yep. Did I do it again? Nope! Is my self-esteem low because of that incident and the other whippings I got when I deserved them? No! Do I hate my parents? NO!!! Do I thank my mama and daddy for their tough love when I needed it? Yes!!! Am I a college-educated, successful adult who has never spent one second inside of a prison? Yes!

I wish that more parents would step up like this parent.

catlady

February 21st, 2011
3:36 pm

But..but…but it’s his teachers’ fault!

fultonschoolsparent

February 21st, 2011
3:41 pm

@Dr. PBM – Exactly right. Where were the parents before he turned 15? That said, I have two words – “Military Academy”. Maybe that would get his attention?

EnoughAlready

February 21st, 2011
3:47 pm

I support mom 100%. For those concerned with prior years, it could be that he was a good student at 13 & 14; sometimes things change due to peer pressure in highschool. I remember my daughters middle school principal giving a speech at registration saying exactly that; she stated that in a couple of week or months we would be asking ourselves who they were (meaning our kids).

She was 100% correct; I’m fighting peer pressure and the “cool gang” daily.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
4:00 pm

“…it could be that he was a good student at 13 & 14; sometimes things change due to peer pressure in high school.”

He might have been but you do realize that GPA calculation starts in the 9th grade don’t you? Also it has been my experience that kids raised with clear-cut expectations usually do okay. Of course there is the exception which this kid MIGHT be. I kind of doubt it though. He probably had help, lack of academic expectation, in reaching his lofty 1.22 GPA.

Ashley

February 21st, 2011
4:06 pm

Sad to say but most of the so-call cool kids in high-school were slackers and thumb their nose in the face of authority. As a black teen-ager in high-school, I was subjected to all kinds of insults because of the excellent grades I made and didn’t go along with the populous. Kids change between the times they are in junior-high to high-school. The friend you had at 12 might not be your friend at 14 or 15. Peer pressure is the main culprit in any high-school , always has been. Maybe the parents that disagree with her unorthodox solution, might offer some insight instead of tearing her down for her parenting skills.

LA teacher 2

February 21st, 2011
4:14 pm

Fultonschoolparent: Military Academy is one of the hardest schools in America to gain admission to. Perhaps you meant “a military school.” Very different.
Some kids have a rebellious streak and think they are hurting parents or teachers by making lousy grades. Their brains don’t work quite right at this age. One of mine turned into an idiot between 14-16. Fortunately, his grades didn’t suffer too much, but his other actions were just stupid. I am not sure what I could have done differently.
Personally, I LOVE this punishment and will share it w/ parents at conferences when they ask for ideas. It’s right up there w/ taking away all their clothes, jewelry, and makeup (except for a pair of grey sweats).
Go Parents!! It might not feel like love, but it sure is!

ABC

February 21st, 2011
4:15 pm

The article says she has tried a lot of other things: talks, help, grounding, punishments, etc and nothing worked! Well yeah, she did what she had to! Here we have a mom that’s willing to do ALL it takes for her child to succeed and someone is giving her crap about it???? Hell no. She should be commended for not giving up! Good on you mom!

Tony

February 21st, 2011
4:19 pm

Here is a point upon which I agree with Ms. Rhee – We have become too soft on our children. We make excuses for them. We do not expect them to live up to high standards. We criticize others for doing everything within their power to get their kids to shape up.

Upon what grounds was DHR called? Holding a sign up is certainly not abuse. If the community is outraged by the mom’s actions, where is the outrage over the lack of effort from the student? Where is the outrage over the misbehavior of other students to the point that class disruptions take away learning opportunities from everyone else? Where is the outrage over parents who allow their kids to drop out of school? (note: dropout rate is held against the schools, but it is parents who give the okay for kids to quit, not schools.)

Learning is hard work and our society has become too soft of kids when it comes to high expectations for all.

Ashley

February 21st, 2011
4:31 pm

The same community that is outraged is the same community that will pay dearly unless Mr 1.22 straightens up and gets his act together. This mother has not given up on her child , she should be commended. After all tough love is better than cold concrete.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
4:41 pm

I’m almost afraid to ask but where is pops at? Have we reached the point where the black community is TOTALLY emasculated and matriarchal in nature? Yeah moms is doing “something” but shes probably a day late and a dollar short. Nice locs on “baby boy” though. I understand now…

the cats meow

February 21st, 2011
4:43 pm

I applaud these parents! Raising a good teenager is hard enough much less having a challenging teenager. I’ve personally had both. Parents today are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I’ve used a similar types of punishment such as making my son pick up paper on the side of the road in our neighborhood after he was caught throwing trash out the window on the school bus. We never had that problem again. I really did not care if he felt humiliated. There are consequences for your actions. The earlier kids learn that the better. You have to be very creative as a parent in today’s world.

David Sims

February 21st, 2011
4:51 pm

A version of the dunce cap. No, it’s not child abuse. But Departments of Children and Families are keen to prove how important they are, and they might jump on this mom. There was, last year in Florida, a young mother who thought it would be “cute” to pose her baby with some smoking paraphernalia. The friend she showed the picture to thought it was so cute it should be shared with others on the internet. Next thing you know, the DCF was knocking down her door and putting the handcuffs on her. Subsequent drug tests proved that the mother was telling the truth all along. It was just a joke. But she was still arrested for endangering a child.

ajaylove

February 21st, 2011
4:51 pm

I give a high five to the mama. And make that boy get a hair cut and pull up his pants!

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
5:01 pm

“And make that boy get a hair cut and pull up his pants!”

Which should have been a visual clue to posters stating “we have a mom that’s willing to do ALL it takes for her child to succeed.” I submit that this “child” was probably allowed to do what he wanted until he ‘embarrassed” moms at the school meeting. I wonder how many teachers “tried” to contact this mother to let her know that her child was heading down the wrong path only to be “shushed” by an over bearing administrator?

Serviatus

February 21st, 2011
5:32 pm

I applaud the parents for taking such a bold step in getting their child to realize the importance of education. Obviously, they do not want him to become a burden to society and are taking steps to show that there a definite consequences for his actions. Accepting nothing less than the best is totally unacceptable, and those who criticize the parent must have monies stashed away to support this child if he should become socially and occupationally indigent.

KUDOS to Dad and Mom for doing this and I hope this will be a trend sweeping our country. It is a shame that we have fallen so far behind other industrialized nations in education. What’s interesting is that the world sends their best and brightest to our universities, but never our grammar and high school institutions. With actions like “street-signing” hopefully our grammar and high schools will become just as sought after as our universities.

Jennifer

February 21st, 2011
5:54 pm

Well I didn’t see anything about the parent and the school working together to get to the root of the issue.

ABC

February 21st, 2011
5:56 pm

DR PBM: according to the article, the father IS around. It is mentioned that boy “she and the boy’s father have tried everything”. So, shockingly, dad is around.

And second, there is no indication that this was the case. It states that the parents have tried help, pleading, nagging, talking, negotiating, taking away privileges and punishment and nothing worked. It doesn’t sound like she was doing nothing until she was “embarrassed”

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
5:57 pm

“DR PBM: according to the article, the father IS around.”

Why are we just hearing from the mother then?

Hmmm

February 21st, 2011
6:07 pm

“Ronda Holder says she and the boy’s father have tried everything to get their 15-year-old to shape up academically. They’ve offered help, asked to see homework, grounded, lectured him and confiscated his cell phone. James Mond III’s indifference at a school meeting last week was the final straw. The next day, Holder made the sign and made her son wear it for nearly four hours”

So … she was able to force him to wear a “dunce” sign for 4 hours, but everything else she tried to make him do he refused. This entire story is full of crap!

Toto: Exposing naked body scanners...

February 21st, 2011
6:19 pm

Lots of parenting/marriage/relationship mistakes made before the student turned 15. However, the mom is trying to rectify the situation, but it is too little too late. I was AMAZED that this student would wear this sign in public for FOUR HOURS! How did she get him to do that????????? Was he on drugs?

It does irritate me that a wel -connected Chinese “tiger mom” can treat her kids the way she did WITHOUT A PEEP from the psycho/ed “professionals”. No DFACS dispatched to her Ivy League home! In fact, she was promoted shamelessly by every bankster owned “media” outlet, FOR FREE!
Just the poor underclass is told they can’t discipline their children. Unfortunately, many have believed it.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
6:31 pm

@ Hmmm

“So … she was able to force him to wear a “dunce” sign for 4 hours, but everything else she tried to make him do he refused. This entire story is full of crap!”

That was going to be my next post but you beat me to it!

go mom!

February 21st, 2011
6:45 pm

Although, PBM, you may be right about where the discipline was the first 14 years of his life, at least she’s taking action now! It is time to get out of “mamby pamby” land and do something. You know, “We Gotta DO Something!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI4XLhY10VA

Common Sense Teacher

February 21st, 2011
6:47 pm

Waiting until a child is fifteen to make academic demands of him is about ten years too late. Good luck, you parents, who don’t decide to do something about your child’s education until he is in high school. “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” The universal truth applies to kids, too.

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
6:51 pm

“Good luck, you parents, who don’t decide to do something about your child’s education until he is in high school.”

If I was a betting man I would wager this months pay that this is/was the case.

go mom!

February 21st, 2011
6:52 pm

So, Common Sense Teacher, you think she shouldn’t take any action now? There’s also a saying, “better late than never”!

Dr. Proud Black Man

February 21st, 2011
7:21 pm

@ go mom!

I think Common Sense Teacher is saying the parent(s) waited too late.

Hmmm

February 21st, 2011
7:26 pm

“There’s also a saying, “better late than never”!”

That’s a proud parenting moment when applied to your child’s future – NOT!
The saying “too little, too late” is more appropriate in this instance!

Common Sense Teacher

February 21st, 2011
8:11 pm

I would never say stop trying to parent. What I am saying is that as an educator I see far too many parents wait until high school to take an avid interest in their child’s education. I agree with “Hmmm.” “Better late than never” is a sad situation for parenting. Children don’t wait to grow up until their own parents have become adults. They continue to grow up in spite of them. Parents should not rely on teachers to always take their place and see that children have everything they need to be productive adults. Parenting should begin before a child’s birth, but that’s another discussion for another day.

Joe

February 21st, 2011
8:12 pm

Has anyone checked to see if the kid has learning disabilities?

Why wait until now? Why not try to get him/her the help they need in 2nd and 3rd grades?

And maybe the kid is just not being challenged in school?

I’ve seen all of these lead to poor performance in school, in addition to general laziness.

Stone Mountain Mom

February 21st, 2011
8:21 pm

I feel the parents were just out of options for them to get their son to understand that he will need an education. They wanted him to know that he needs to buckle down and do the work. They could have just let him fluck and kicked him out when he got 16 or 17 years of age. A parent can only do so much for the child. The mother wanted him to want to learn, but he has to want it for himself. She did what she thought would help.

go mom!

February 21st, 2011
8:50 pm

I agree that the child’s parents should have done something sooner. However, given that they didn’t, (as far we can tell) should not prevent them from trying now.

go mom!

February 21st, 2011
8:57 pm

@ Joe: If the child has learning disabilities, it would have been caught by now. Unless of course the child has attended many different schools, in which case it might have taken longer than he attended each school to figure out that he has learning difficulties. That problem would rest squarely on the parents; however, it is certainly possible that the parents, in order to keep a roof over his head and food on the table, moved frequently. Regardless, the fact that the parents have taken this course of action, it will all probably get solved more quickly.

go mom!

February 21st, 2011
8:59 pm

Besides, has anyone realized that the size of the information on the poster means that most passerby wouldn’t even know what it said? (Unless there is a lot of foot traffic in that area.)

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

February 21st, 2011
9:12 pm

Just a note of interest:

Before I decided upon a teaching career, I considered becoming a school psychologist. I spent a year and a half in the Graduate School Psyc program. During that time, I was required to administer tests and evaluate several teen-age boys who had been straight A, excellent students up until around age 14-16 – at which point the peer pressure from friends and neighbors not to “excel” because it meant “selling out to the man” overcame their previous parental push to do well in school. It was very disheartening, but at that age, they valued “fitting in” with their peer group more than pleasing their parents or the uncertain future of academic success.

I am not saying this is the case here, but I wouldn’t assume that this particula5r child has always been a struggling student either.

justbrowsing

February 21st, 2011
9:22 pm

The mother did the right thing. Shaming is still an effective deterrent to student ambivalence. We have become so “soft” with how we approach students and their “self esteem”. He will be alright, however, and most importantly, he will never forget. I hope for his sake this helps to kickstart his engine and he gets it together.

ScienceTeacher671

February 21st, 2011
10:35 pm

@go mom! “@ Joe: If the child has learning disabilities, it would have been caught by now.”

Not necessarily. I’ve seen children who weren’t diagnosed until 11th grade, because no one ever tested them. They were socially promoted until they got to high school, and at that point, they didn’t have the skills to do the work and started failing all their classes.

ScienceTeacher671

February 21st, 2011
10:47 pm

She didn’t make him cut his dreads…