Father’s lesson to daughter goes viral

Swanton area man makes 10-year-old walk to school after she’s kicked off bus for bullying

By Debbie Rogers - drogers@sentinel-tribune.com

A Facebook post by a local man on teaching his daughter a lesson after she was kicked off the school bus for bullying, has gone viral.

Matt Cox, of Swanton, posted a video of his 10-year-old daughter walking to Evergreen Schools on Monday. He’s following behind in his truck, commenting as his phone records.

The sixth-grader trudges deliberately along the road, her purple and orange backpack bopping on her shoulders, as Cox explains the situation. He’s making her walk to school — 5 miles — after she was booted from the school bus for bullying another student.

As of Wednesday, the post had 11 million views, 309,000 shares and 83,000 comments. It has been picked up by many news organizations, including ABC News, USA Today and BBC News.

“Friday, my daughter came home, and for the second time this school year, said she had been kicked off the bus for bullying,” Cox said.

“She looked at me and said, ‘dad, you have to take me to school.’ And I thought about it and said, ‘no, I do not.’”

Cox said his daughter felt she was “entitled” to a ride, and he wanted to hold her responsible for her actions.

“A lot of it for me is parents today don’t hold their kids accountable,” Cox said. “I think that’s a huge part of why kids act the way they do.

“That’s why the bullying starts, they feel they’re owed. They have no humility.”

He reluctantly decided to make her walk the 5 miles to school on Monday, the first day of the three-day bus suspension.

“I love my daughter. It killed me to make her walk,” Cox said. “It was a 5-mile walk, although I did cave a little bit.”

On Monday, she walked 1.5 miles, on Tuesday it was 1.7 miles and on Wednesday it was 2.3 miles, he said.

“The first day she was a little upset. But that evening, after I posted the video, we sat down as a family, and I was reading some of my comments,” said Cox, who also has a 15-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son at home.

The whole family was affected by the hundreds of comments from people who had been bullied — some many years ago — and were still hurting.

“I started crying. The amount of stories that I’m getting is unbelievable and the tragedies in them. A lot of people end up killing themselves,” Cox said.

“My little video is not going to do much, but if I can get one person to say ‘we’re not going to let this happen, we’re not going to turn our back,’” he said. “I hope parents see that and decide to hold their children accountable. And I hope children see it and read some of the comments.”

Cox was asked if, in hindsight, he felt his discipline was too harsh.

“Absolutely not,” he said, adding that this time of year, children are outside for hours when it snows, sledding and throwing snowballs.

“It’s nothing harmful to make your kids walk.”

Cox grew up and went to school in Bowling Green. He said if he would have bullied another child, his punishment would have been a lot different than the one he doled out to his daughter.

“I grew up when getting your butt whipped wasn’t the worst thing in the world,” he said. “My parents probably would have went a different route with me.”

See the video at: https://www.facebook.com/matt.cox.735/videos/2191578667575986/

Swanton area man makes 10-year-old walk to school after she’s kicked off bus for bullying

By Debbie Rogers