Police in Rock Hill, S.C., say a mother shaved her son’s head and dressed the boy in women’s clothing before “parading him around” a local Wal-Mart as a form of punishment.
When officers arrived at the store, the Herald reported, they found the 10-year-old boy wearing a tutu, women’s boots, a women’s undergarment and a T-shirt “with various permanent marker writing underneath,” according to a police report.
The child’s head was shaved “in an unusual manner, bald on top with a patch of wig on the front of his head,” the report noted. Adding to a spectacle, the word “BAD” was scrawled in black marker on the back of the boy’s head.
Police said the mother told them she was “punishing her son for fighting and making homophobic remarks in school.”
The child was having behavioral problems, she added, and “corporal punishment has been ineffective, so she was attempting to embarrass” him into good behavior, according to the police report.
Officers informed the woman that her parenting tactics were problematic and then called the county’s department of social services, Rock Hill Police spokesman Mark Bollinger told The Washington Post
“We’re not going to charge the mother with anything,” Bollinger said. “The incident apparently shocked some customers and some some of the staff, and they gave us a call.”
Bollinger added that in conservative South Carolina, the public punishment was “very unusual.”
In nearby Georgia, head-shaving punishment is not uncommon, said Russell Fredrick, whose suburban Atlanta barbershop offers the “Benjamin Button Special” three days a week — free of charge — to parents seeking a novel form of juvenile discipline.
The cut involves shaving hair off a boy’s crown until he begins to resemble a balding senior citizen, inviting that unique brand of adolescent humiliation that can only come from teasing classmates and unwanted attention.
Supporters say it’s the perfect punishment for misbehaving kids who want to “act grown.”
“Parents are at a loss,” Fredrick told The Post. “When you go to discipline kids these days, they can’t necessarily use physical punishment they way parents did in the past, but they have to do something. If you don’t, and your kid ends up doing something crazy, everyone is going to say the problems started at home.”
When we last talked to Fredrick, he told us the cut had grown in popularity after news of the practice spread across social media. And how about the 10-year-old boy in the photo (above) who was brought in by his mother after he misbehaved in school?
“By the end of the year, he was on the honor roll,” Fredrick said.