A South Florida middle school student learned a hard lesson recently when his father forced him to wear an embarrassing sign and stand on a busy corner as punishment for receiving a report card filled with failing grades.
Michael Bell Jr. stood for several hours on the corner of a Miami intersection wearing a sign that read “Hey, I want to be a class clown. Is it wrong?” on the front and “I’m in the 7th grade and got 3 F’s. Blow your horn if there’s something wrong with that” on the back, according to a recent Time report.
Michael, who failed three classes—civics, language arts and math—told local news station WSVN-TV that he understands that he’s made a big mistake and plans to do better when school resumes after spring break:
“I got an F in most of my classes, so as a punishment, I’m supposed to stay here for the whole spring break. If you don’t do right then you get a lot of stuff taken from you.”
His father, Michael Bell Sr., said that this tactic was a last resort after receiving many complaints about his son not taking school seriously. He told WSVN-TV:
“If I don’t do anything, he’s going to be a statistic, and I don’t want him to be a statistic,”
This is not the first time a Florida parent has used a similar strategy to make an impact on their child. Last year, Tampa mom Ronda Holder made her 15-year-old son stand on a street corner with a sign displaying his 1.22 GPA.
Brett Johnson is a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based writer and the founder of the music and culture blog VeryArtistical.com.