Judge Forces High School Bully to Face His Victims With Unique Punishment


keyboardWe've all heard some inventive punishments for teenage miscreants over the years. Public shaming. Seriously unpleasant jobs. Turning their cellphone into a "phone home only" machine. But if you're looking for something that will really set your kid on the straight and narrow, have I got a good one for you!

A high school football player in Montana got an unusual sentence from a judge recently for an unsettling case of team hazing. The kid covered his teammates' mouths, told them not to struggle, then punched them in the groin and poked them through their pants. The players were warned if they struggled, the torture would be even more severe. So what did the judge do to the 15-year-old bully?

He ordered him to write personal letters of apology to each of his victims.

What, you were expecting jail time? Being blindfolded and punched in the groin himself? If it makes you feel better, the teen is also on probation for the next six months. But I have a feeling it's the letters that will really drive home the problem with his actions.

It's easy enough to punish our kids. Scream, yell, take something away, and voila. But does banning your teen from playing Modern Warfare 3 really teach them that their actions were wrong? Or does it just make them more angry with you for daring to infringe on their right to game?

Being forced to write letters of apology means having to face the details of your mistakes. You can't hide from them. They're written out in black and white in front of you, and you were the one who put them there.

It also requires you show some true remorse. Anyone can say "sorry" in a tone of voice that makes it very clear they are anything but. Paired with the teen-perfected eye roll, and it's easy enough for a kid to make a face-to-face mea culpa sound more like a "screw you" without using the words. But unless you're a well-practiced writer, it's harder to write an apology that rings true without meaning it ... at least without several revisions, each of which force the kid to face again and again and again just how badly they messed up. Think of it as the modern day version of writing your mistake on the blackboard 100 times, only there's the added benefit of the victim of your kid's jerky behavior getting an actual apology out of the deal.

Would you do this with your kids? How else do you make the message sink in?


Image via DeclanTM/Flickr

behavior, bullies


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OkieG... OkieGirl74

Hardly seems like a strong enough punishment

crs2442 crs2442

Seems like a pretty lame punishment. So, he writes a few letters. That doesn't mean he is actually sorry. And, he never has to face them.

angev... angevil53

i agree with pp, anyone can write a letter saying i'm sorry and not mean it. if anything he's just sorry he got caught. my children will know their punishments will be creative and public. i think people refuse to humble their children anymore bc *gasp* they might not be their friend or think their little angels could never mess up. it's ridiculous.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

 Are you under the impression anything typed out magically becomes fact?  Because that would explain a LOT about your writing.

tinyp... tinypossum

I actually agree with you. I think it is a good punishment that will force him to take personal responsibility for his behavior. The reason we have so many kids acting out is that everyone seems to think that humiliation, shaming, fear, beating, jail, etc. are the way to get good behavior from kids. That kind of stuff is probably why he turned out to be a jerk in the first place. 

fraoch fraoch

He should have had him write the letters, then read them publically to each person he bullied.

prplecat prplecat

Should have had to read the letters on stage in the auditorium in front of the entire school.

zandh... zandhmom2

I'm sorry, I guess I'm just not following this...is this kid a bully or was he a part of a hazing being done? I don't consider it to be a bully when kids stand in front of you and let you do things to them because they want to be part of some kind of group.

libby261 libby261

He should have made a public apology on live TV.

Jespren Jespren

Agree with Zandhmom2, hazing isn't the same as bullying (although certainly bullies haze and ppl who haze are likely to bully). And writing a letter isn't a 'good' punishment. You greatly underestimate a teens ability to write fiction apparently. Because a teen writing a personal 'i'm sorry' is just as much a laughable 'f you for tattling' as a spoken one to a jerk (of any age). And making him read them outloud in front of the school is more likely to make for good fodder for *other* bullies in the school rather than make the victims feel better.

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