'Tough love' social media post lands Harrow mom praise, criticism
A Harrow, Ont. mother is defending her actions after a social media post featuring her kids walking to school with signs reading “bad bus behaviour” went viral last week.
Jenn Brown says her seven and 10 year-old boys were acting out on the school bus – and was told that if their behaviour didn’t improve, they wouldn’t be allowed back on. Brown tells CTV News that’s why she decided to teach them a lesson by making them walk.
“This was my reaction as a parent, what I felt I was going to do to help them understand the bus is a privilege, it’s not a given right,” Brown says. “Is it far to make them walk 7.2 km? Yes. But to teach them a lesson, I didn't have a choice.”
What fueled the controversy is the picture she posted to Facebook. During their walk to school, Brown’s boys were holding a sign that reads, “Being bad and rude to our bus driver. Mom's making us walk.”
Brown says it was her friend’s idea to use the sign. She decided to go ahead with it because she didn't want people stopping to offer them a ride. She also didn’t expect her post would go viral with close to 50,000 views.
“I started getting friend requests I can’t tell you how many inbox messages I got from all over telling me good job and good for you,” says Brown.
Brown says she’s also received critical messages with some people accusing her of publicly shaming her children -- something she says she would never do. In fact, Brown says she held the sign for most of the walk and never imagined her story would gain so much attention.
She says the two hour walk to school with her boys gave them all some quality time together and so far, she thinks they learned their lesson. But she says she learned something too.
“Would I do it again? Yes. With the sign, no,” Brown says.
There is one thing Brown received that she says helps validate her actions: A thank you card from her boys’ bus driver.
“It made me feel I was actively taking a stance on what my kids are doing,” Brown says. “He felt appreciative that I'm trying to straighten them out.”
CTV News contacted the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society but officials said they do not comment on specific cases.