An Ohio father found himself at the center of a social media firestorm after a video went viral showing the punishment his daughter endured after she was caught bullying other students.
Matt Cox’s daughter Kirsten was suspended from riding the bus for three days after bullying another student, according to FOX47, and when Cox was told he would have to drive the girl, he opted to teach her a lesson instead.
“I realized she viewed the privilege of riding the bus and or car rides to and from school as a right and not a privilege,” Cox said.
So Cox told his daughter she’d be making the five-mile trek to school on foot (with Cox in a car close behind to ensure her safety).
As she started the walk, Cox talked to Kirsten about why he was making her walk to school, trying to drive home the point that if she didn’t bully other kids, she’d still be on the bus.
Cox posted video of the punishment — and was swiftly met with the typical online cacophony of applause and boos.
“I was in complete shock that so many people responded when I originally posted it. I just thought friends and family would see it, and then a friend asked me to make it public so that they could share it,” he told the station. “By the time I woke up the next day, I had hundreds of messages in my inbox and saw that there were quite a few views.”
One upset user blasted the Swanton father for making his daughter walk in 36-degree weather.
“I think it’s good you’re teaching her that she shouldn’t just expect you to drive her because she screwed up on the bus, but this isn’t really helping her learn why bullying is wrong,” another user wrote, according to Newsweek.
Someone else commented: “Cure bullying with bullying. Great lesson, what’s next beating your kids so they don’t hit [others?]”
But Cox defended himself in an interview with WTVG, saying he would do it again.
“I just want the kids to know that words truly do hurt,” he said. “They cut very deep and have lasting effects. I hope that parents hold their kids accountable.”