Single father, Joseph Gonzalez, is forcing his son, 12-year-old Jose Gonzalez to hold a sign that reads, “I am a thief. I took money from a family member. Don’t give me money.”
Mr. Gonzales had his son display the sign on a busy Denver intersection this week, across from his father’s pawn store. His son had stole $100 from the wallet of a cousin and handed it off to a friend while they waited for their school bus. That’s when Mr. Gonzales tracked him down and Jose admitted to taking the money.
In addition to holding the sign, Mr. Gonzalez brought Jose to school where he made him admit to his theft to a school administrator and a police officer. Mr.Gonzalez allowed his son to take bathroom breaks and to eat during the 10 hour punishment time. Mr. Gonzalez said that he wasn’t worried about his son’s reputation and at 12 years old he needs to be corrected for his mistakes so he knows not to commit future offenses.
A Florida child psychologist, James Huysman, said that while making Jose accountable for his actions the public humiliation won’t do anything except, “deepen his shame.” He also said that at 12 years old a child is unable to gain any insight from this kind of public atonement.