A Dad's Unusual Punishment For His Son Who Was Kicked Off The School Bus For Bullying Earns Praise

Some say the father went too far, but it's important to teach kids empathy.

dad yelling at his son fizkes / Shutterstock

The increasing prevalence of bullying in schools and online platforms has turned into a major concern for parents, teachers and society at large. Most parents want to raise their children to have empathy. But many are unsure of the best course of action in doing so.

Who wants to see their child become a bully? Well, when one father caught wind of his son's behavior, he diligently set out to correct it.


A dad had an unusual punishment for his son, who was kicked off the school bus for bullying another kid.

In this context, the story of Virginia father, Bryan Thornhill, has struck a chord with millions. Upon discovering that his 10-year-old son had been bullying other kids on the school bus, Thornhill took a rather unconventional approach to discipline.

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The punishment involved making his son run the one-mile distance to school for three days while Thornhill followed in his car. "My son has finally got in trouble on the bus enough to where he was kicked off the bus for three days because he was being a little bully which I do not tolerate, can't stand," he said.

Thornhill even found some humor in the situation, commenting on his son's good pace, and insisted on continuing the punishment even in the rain.

To many, his method might seem like a lesson in tough love, and it seems to have yielded positive results, with his son staying out of trouble since the punishment. "This right here is just old school simple parenting this ain't killing nobody this is a healthy way for a child to be punished too because it's, you know, exercise," Thornhill said.

He continued to joke about the situation, asserting he would continue this form of punishment if need be. "He's gonna be a very fast runner later on because we've always joked he'll either be fast or obedient so far we're working on fast," he said.


Feedback has been mixed but predominantly positive, with many parents commending Thornhill for his creative way of addressing his son's behavior. However, not everyone agrees with Thornhill's methods. A few critics have accused him of going "too far" and even "bullying the bully." 

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Many people praised the father, but others believe he crossed a line.

Is Thornhill's approach a stroke of genius, reflecting a no-nonsense attitude towards bad behavior? Or does it indeed cross a line, mirroring the behavior it seeks to eradicate?

On one side of the debate, there's an appreciation for a parent who takes immediate and strong action to correct his child's behavior. On the other hand, there's concern that this form of punishment might send the wrong message. 


Does it teach empathy and understanding, or does it merely suppress the behavior through fear? Are there more compassionate ways to guide children toward understanding the consequences of their actions?

Samin Razzaghi, an ICF-accredited life coach, told YourTango in July 2022 that the number one thing to ensure your child doesn't become a bully is "to show them empathy." And the best way is to lead by example!

In an age of evolving parenting philosophies, Thornhill's video serves as a reflection of the struggle to find the right balance between teaching essential values and ensuring that the punishment is more beneficial to the child than harmful.

Ultimately, there may not be a one-size-fits-all answer, but the story invites a thoughtful examination of our collective responsibility to raise children into empathetic human beings.


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Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.