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Mom battles school over kids' "punishment t-shirts"

(CBS) FORT MORGAN, Colo. - A Colorado mother who tried to instill some discipline in her children by having them wear "punishment t-shirts" is feuding with the kids' school district, which disapproves of the strategy.

Jessica Rocha, of Fort Morgan, told CBS Denver, that officials at Green Acres Elementary School made her stepdaughter and her son cover up the shirts, which read "I steal" and I am disrespectful."

Rocha contends the school interfered with her right to discipline her children. She said the kids came up with the idea themselves as a form of punishment.

Rocha said she's at her wits end about discipline.

"We have tried everything," Rocha told CBS Denver.

She says her 8-year-old stepdaughter and 9-year-old son were continually misbehaving at home.

"We have tried taking toys away, we've tried grounding them from TV," Rocha said.

So as a new approach to punishment she sent them to school wearing those t-shirts stating what they had done wrong.

"It says 'I am disrespectful,' and then it says 'disrespectful' and the definition," she said, describing the boy's t-shirt.

Her stepdaughter wore a shirt with her own message.

"It says 'I steal.' "

Rocha said the shirt was met with some criticism from school officials and the child was told to cover up the message, according to CBS Denver.

"The principal seemed to have a personal problem with it," Rocha said.

She feels that school overstepped its bounds when it comes to her parenting and says that the shirts didn't disobey the dress code.

"So, it's okay for the school to do it because they're professionals, they have a degree. But it's not okay for a parent to draw attention to her child to make her child answer for what he or she has done."

Rocha said the behavior of her children has improved since the shirts were made. She said she'll continue to send them to school wearing the t-shirts as a form of punishment when they misbehave.

Photo - punishment shirt worn by Jessica rocha's son - cbs denver

  • Barry Leibowitz

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