A frustrated Florida mother has developed an unorthodox approach to convince her 15-year-old to take school seriously, making him stand on a busy Tampa Bay street corner wearing a sign reading (in part) "GPA 1.222. Honk if I need [an] education." Ronda Holder says she plans to make her son, James Mond III, repeat the punishment every day until his grades improve. Did Holder go too far, or is this just the wake-up call her son needs? (Watch a local report about the punishment)
Shaming your kids won't help: It's easy to understand this mother's frustration, says Madeline Holler in Strollerderby. But "I doubt that public shaming will have any effect on her son's education." It might motivate him for a while, but, at 15, he's probably already too far behind to turn himself around and go to college. The system has already failed him.
"Will shaming a bad student help him to learn?"
This could be the spark this young man needs: If Holder's son starts trying harder in school "just to avoid humiliation on the streets," says Jessica Samakow in Parent Dish, "his grades will most likely improve." So if this cures him of his indifference, Holder might just "salvage her son's education." Instead of criticizing her, "shouldn't we be criticizing the parents who do nothing at all?"
"Public punishment is a much-needed dose of discipline"
She'll be vindicated... if it works: Holder certainly succeeded in getting her son's attention, says Caroline Howard at Forbes. He's reportedly quite embarrassed. And things are looking up — he has promised to do better, and is working with an after-school tutor. "I can't advocate for forcing your child to wear a dunce cap (or placard) on a street corner," but it will be hard to argue with Holder's tactics if her son's grades improve.
"Mother publicly humiliates son for failing grades: Honk if you think she's right"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Scottish independence is another financial crisis waiting to happen
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Pentagon's troubled, expensive new fighter jet
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
Subscribe to the Week