WATHENA, Kan. — A child's punishment took a new twist toward proactive parenting Friday morning.

Richard Fulton said his son entered a neighbor’s unlocked home earlier this week and stole two video games and a gaming system. When Mr. Fulton discovered the games, he made his son apologize and return them.

“We caught him with two games on Tuesday and I asked him if there was any more. He said ‘no.’” Mr. Fulton said. “On Wednesday, we caught him with the whole game system. I asked him when he got it, and he said at the same time he got the games.”

Mr. Fulton said he sat down with his son after he returned the games and system to the neighbor. The family accepted the boy’s apology and said they did not want to press charges.

“I took a hard line with him, and I wanted him to understand that this will not be tolerated,” Mr. Fulton said. “This kind of behavior is not acceptable. I want him to learn a lesson.”

That lesson became quite literal, as Mr. Fulton woke his son Friday morning and drove him to the 2200 block of U.S. Highway 36. Mr. Fulton handed his son a sign that stated, “I like to steal and lie about it!”

“My feet hurt,” the boy said after standing along the highway for roughly an hour.

Several motorists honked, waved and pulled over to shake Mr. Fulton’s hand to show their support for his parenting decision. Others were not pleased with the punishment.

“That is child abuse,” said a woman outside of Shirley’s Dinner Bell. “That just seems wrong.”

One man approached Mr. Fulton’s son and ripped the sign from the boy’s hand in a sign of protest. Mr. Fulton retrieved the sign and handed it back to his son.

“The Wathena Police Department came down here and said they’ve been getting a lot of calls about child abuse out here, this and that,” he said. “My reaction is, ‘Do you want him to break into your house?’ Because he is 9 years old now. While he is impressionable, I want to make a difference in his life.”

Six years ago, Mr. Fulton struggled with assault charges and one count of theft, and found himself in and out of jail when he was younger. He said that was not the life he wanted for his son.

“I can’t watch my son go through that,” Mr. Fulton said. “He’s a wonderful kid, an absolute blessing to have, but I just want him to learn the lesson so he doesn’t grow up the way I did.”

Mr. Fulton and his son stopped after two hours of “sign punishment.” While the boy said he would never steal anything again, Mr. Fulton felt his decision would leave a lasting lesson.

Kristin Hoppa can be reached at kristin.hoppa@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHoppa.







(24) comments

saywhat
saywhat

How is this unusual punishment? It's been done over and over and over.....all over the country. It has been in local news, national news and it's old news.

COI
COI

Kudos to this father, it is great that he has learned from his mistakes and loves and cares about his son enought to make sure he does not follow in his footsteps. This little lesson will make him think good and hard before he thinks about stealing something again........ There is absolutely nothing wrong with what this father has done.

popski
popski

Just curious...for those who would disagree with the punishment....would you mind elaborating on how YOU would train your child, if this boy were your son? How would YOU go about teaching him not to steal and lie?

Content
Content

Not that way!!!

We would first return the item and the apology as he did - then have a long talk about crime and punishment - the disappointment felt - how others suffer when you steal - and then he would receive his punishment ie. grounding, extra chores etc. But NOT public humiliation at that age. We do that to adults through our court system but this is a child.

The Dad was as wrong as the child.

COI
COI

This is something he will remember much more then grounding or extra chores. I would bet money that he wont do it again due to this punishment. Again Kudos to the father for trying to teach his son before its too late. The son will definately thank his father in the future when hes not become a thief and ruined his life by being in prison or on probation for a long period of time and struggles to get good jobs because of it.

socialfingered
socialfingered

Most of the felons in prison today were raised "your way"

GoHawkeyes
GoHawkeyes

I don't often agree with you but you are 100% right this time.

popski
popski

You're right Content....crime does bring punishment. THIS father is trying very hard to prevent his son from COMMITTING the crime in order to AVOID punishment. Doing this is MUCH less than going to jail....or worse....

Content
Content

If the father had been raising him right in the first place - it probably would not have happened. This is a child. And you want to do like in the olden days and put him the town square for humiliation. The father should be wearing a sign to that says - I'm a rotten father.

GLong10A
GLong10A

I"m with the father--- This "time out" punishment does not make a lasting impression. And so he had to stand for two hours, big deal. no one would think twice if he stood that long watching a sporting event.

Content
Content

This is not about standing you fool. It's the sign and humiliation as a child.

rayk44
rayk44

So now we into name calling?? Just how were you raised?? You Dad!

popski
popski

I agree with Content's last two posts 100%...well....except for calling GLong10a a fool.

Content
Content

Thanks...I'll drop the fool part. Now the poor 9 year old has his picture on the front page of the newspaper for even more thousands to see. Poor child needs better parenting.

10former
10former

What the story doesn't tell us is if this the first time for this behavior. If this was the first time, it might be a little much. If not, it's appropriate sans the boy's face in the picture.

Content
Content

Makes no difference! There is never an excuse to parade a 9 year old child around humiliating him in front of the public by those who are suppose to love him.

It's easy to understand why the Dad has a past history of jail!

snopey
snopey

Yeah, bring back the pillories in the town square like in the good old days, and whip them children like Tom Jefferson did if they didn't make enough nails, and bring back those religious punishments for braking the Commandments or the effective stoning when your daughter disrespects your family. All those worked out well in the Good Ole Days so why did we stop that public humiliation?

Content
Content

Because we became more civilized and realized that was abuse. And it did not work out well at all.

tundra95
tundra95

The only thing I would agree with content on is the photo in the paper. The newspress should of done what KQ2 did and have him hold the sign over his face. This is a local community issue who knows the family and the child. Hopefully someone will contact the father about some grass needing cut or leaves raked, work is how you obtain items ...not theft.

GoHawkeyes
GoHawkeyes

Let's bring religion into this. You deity fanatics like to say that homosexuality is bad because your book of fairy tales says so. Well your book also says that crime should be punished an eye for an eye. So quit complaining about this kid's public humiliation punishment as being too harsh. It's actually too easy according to your mythological master's word. This kid's hands should be cut off.

Oh wait, you only like to pick and choose to follow certain parts of your fable. Carry on.

10former
10former

So the hate you bring into the discussion shows your inability to reason, despite your self proclaimed good deeds. I don't doubt that you are a good person, but you harbor hate for that which you don't care to follow. Is it the actions you hate, or the people? If so, it's no different for those who believe, hate the action, not the person. Some have a huge problem with the difference. Do you?

Content
Content

His comment had nothing to do with hate - it was saying how far we have come over hundreds of years.........

10former
10former

He said nothing of progress over 100 years. If you can't see his very pointed comments and strong dislike to the point of hate of Bible believers, you really are in the fog.

djackharry
djackharry

This is awesome way to teach the kid old school. Our society is going down the toilet because of everyone letting the kids control the adults way to take charge Mr Fulton! There is absolutely no disipline anywhere because everyone is afraid of what someone might say about how they discipline.

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