Myasia, a 13-year-old girl, was ordered by her aunt and guardian to stand outside in the Akron, Ohio, bitter cold and hold a sign that criticized the fact that she failed to walk away from a school fight that ended in a three-day suspension, reports WKYC.
Instead of choosing to not engage in a school fight, Myasia reportedly decided to battle another student even after her aunt and guardian, Sonia Davis, warned her to turn the other cheek. According to Davis, Myasia has been disciplined repeatedly before, such as the confiscation of her cell phone, iPad, and MP3 player, but these punishments have had no effect on her behavior.
So Davis thought that embarrassing the seventh grader would probably make a dent in her hard demeanor.
Davis reportedly watched her niece from her car as she held up the sign in the cold amid honks from cars, snickers, and sarcastic comments from passersby. Periodically, Davis gave Myasia warm-up breaks.
So what did the controversial sign read:
They [people in Jesus’ time] talked about Jesus Christ. So what do I care what a person have [sic] to say about me. Now I’m standing outside holding this sign instead of being in school getting my education when I could have walked away! Because it’s Jesus who died for me!
Did Davis’ lesson of walking away from a heated confrontation make an impact on Myasia?
According to Myasia, the entire lesson was “stupid,” and when asked by WKYC how she felt about carrying the sign for all to see, the tween responded, “A girl rode by in her car and she was laughing at me.”
Watch video of the punishment.
But are shaming tactics effective in disciplining children?
WKYC spoke to Dr. Aaron Ellington, an adolescent psychologist, who feels that shaming punishments run the risk of negatively affecting the bond between parent and child, “What I’m concerned about is, now you might have to deal with resentment that you didn’t have to deal with before.”
Instead, Dr. Ellington believes instituting a more rational consequence for a child’s negative behavior is the route to go, telling WKYC, “You’re still just trying to pour on the punishment to try to get this teen to comply, instead of saying, ‘Let’s look at it this way: You may not have the skills it takes to walk away, but you need to learn the skills to walk away, and we’re going to teach you the skills.’”