Those of us forced to -- make that "allowed to"! -- read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter in school tend to come away from the experience with disgust for the way society makes heroine Hester Prynne wear the sin of adultery on her clothes in the form of a red letter "A."
Probably not Jessica Rocha, though. The Fort Morgan mom believes the best way to get her two kids to stop bullying and/or stealing is to make them wear T-shirts to school announcing their crimes. Photos, video and details below.
The story comes to us from 9News, and although the report doesn't reveal how the tip came to the station, Rocha is the most likely source -- suggesting that she not only feels aggrieved at objections to her technique, but thinks the average viewer will see what she's doing as a brilliant and innovative example of tough love.
Is she right? You be the judge.
Rocha's parenting is focused on her fiancé's eight-year-old daughter, Aurora, and her own nine-year-old son, Xavier: The station isn't revealing their last names, which are different from Rocha's, in an effort to prevent them from being targeted by Internet searches.
Aurora, above, is seen on camera, and can be heard parroting her future stepmom's philosophy, Xavier refused to cooperate. He's represented by the photo to the left.
We predict he'll look back on this decision with pride in future years -- maybe during intensive psychiatric sessions.
According to Rocha, Aurora is a thief, having stolen from Walmart, a neighbor, a friend's house and mom's purse. Xavier, for his part, has allegedly been aggressive since he was a first-grader, bullying other kids, back-talking teachers and generally being a pain.
To adjust this behavior, Rocha says she's tried a slew of different approaches, including taking away privileges and extra-curricular activities. Then, at her wit's end, she hit on the T-shirt idea. The front of the one she made for Aurora features the scrawl, "I steal. Steal means taking property belonging to someone else without permission." Here's a look at it:
The back, meanwhile, sports the words, "I steal. Please watch me."
Which sounds like an invitation to pedophiles and creepazoids to us. Just sayin'.
The plan called for Xavier to get a T-shirt of his own, but with a bullying message. However, things got more complicated when the principal of Green Acres Elementary made Aurora cover up the shirt when she wore it to school, and now, the school district has nixed the apparel or anything like it.
"I respect her right to do what's best for her family," Fort Morgan Schools superintendent Ron Echols told the station in a statement. "But I wish she would leave the school out of it. We cannot support something that is demeaning to the kids."
In Rocha's view, that's ridiculous. "I don't think a T-shirt is harming my child at all," she says.
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We should know for certain in a decade or two -- and maybe sooner. Here's the 9News report.
More from our Education archive: "Denver police and DPS agree: No more tickets for bad language, minor scuffles."