GREAT FALLS- A mom of six kids says she was frustrated to hear that one of her children had been bullying others at school. So she came up with a controversial solution.
Jessica Williams said she doesn't tolerate her children bullying others. And this past Sunday afternoon her 11-year-old son Eric learned that lesson as she had him stand by a Dairy Queen holding up a sign with the words "I’m a bully", while singing "bully-free is going to start with me."
Jessica said she didn't do this to humiliate her son, but instead to have him understand the negative effects bullies can have on others. Jessica said in the past her son would always stick up for others.
"This year that's a lot different. He's bullying second graders and kids younger than him and stomping on kid's ankles," said Williams.
Jessica said one of her friends used this same consequence technique on her son and said it worked well. Her friend volunteered to stand out there with Eric while he admitted to the cars passing by and folks walking on the street that he is a bully.
Jessica said she and her friend wanted him to do this on Sunday while people were out and about. But, they didn't expect how much attention from the community this would attract.
"He did go out and he did serve his consequence and took it like he was supposed to and he came home and we had a discussion and I asked him how he enjoyed it,” said Williams. "He said he didn't, it was embarrassing. People were coming by taking pictures. I think that people really cared that he was standing out there holding that sign. He didn't think that was going to happen. He thought people were going to bypass him."
People ended up posting pictures of Eric holding up his sign on social media. Jessica said some of the comments regarding Eric holding up the sign stated that she was bullying her child for humiliating him. Some comments applauded her for teaching him a lesson in a very unique way that could stop him from bullying. Since Sunday, Jessica said Eric hasn't bullied anyone at school.
It's National Bullying Prevention Month. Stomp Out Bullying has an anti-bullying awareness organization. This week they're urging parents to remind your children to make friends with someone new and challenge your children to pay it forward to others all to stop bullying.