A Florida dad decided to teach his son a tough life lesson after discovering that he had been bullying others at school.
Michael Yager got his 13-year-old son, Jacob, to stand on the side of a busy intersection in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, while holding up a sign that read: “I’m a bully. Honk if you hate bullies.”
While it might sound quite harsh, Yager decided it was important to put his son in the shoes of those he had chosen to pick on.
“I figured I would teach him a lesson that would embarrass him and make him feel the way that the kids feel,” the boy’s father told WESH-TV.
Almost immediately, motorists began honking, while at least one passerby actually pulled over to talk to Michael and Jacob.
“I had Edgewater Police stop by, I had Volusai County Sheriffs. I had a good response from the neighborhood,” Michael Yager recalled.
As for his son, Jacob said he was “embarrassed and kind of nervous” when he took to the street corner holding up the sign.
But while there were many supporters of this harsh parenting tactic, others weren’t so impressed.
“I had one woman come up and call me every name in the book,” Yager said. “In my mind, I thought I was doing the right thing, but I guess you just can’t please everybody.”
Criticism aside, it appears that Michael’s disciplinary tactics really worked — Jacob truly learned his lesson.
“You never know what someone can be going through. If you want to be the bully, like if you have something inside you need to tell someone go to a guidance counselor or someone,” the teenager said.
According to StopBullying.gov, some 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying, and 70.6 percent say they’ve witnessed it at school.
According to nobullying.com, cyberbullying has become “one of the most common methods in which bullies target their victims.” The website adds, “Bullies hide behind their screens and strike whenever the urge hits them. They can create fictitious identities and can appear in their victims’ lives without any warning, where victims are unable to predict when the next attack will be.”
While many seek to play down bullying as simply something every kid “has to deal with,” the eye-opening statistics argue otherwise. Given the severity of the problem, perhaps more parents would do well to take Yager’s lead and nip bullying in the bud.