A parent whose son continually ignored warnings to stop bullying a girl at school made him believe the victim had harmed herself in an attempt to scare him straight.
Knowing the boy had history of making fun of people online, the anonymous parent told him to 'cut it out' but later found he had again been 'roasting' girl's photos, often name calling or comparing them to 'something or someone he deems undesirable'.
He was again warned not to do it and told the girls at his school wouldn't want to be around someone who behaves like that.
The taunting ceased for a few months until the parent says 'a new girl who I was told had quite a high opinion of her looks despite not being very attractive joined his school'.
The boy and his friends began harassing the girl and taunting her badly, forcing the parent to share their own story of being the victim of bullying in a bid to show him the impact it can have.
Although the story seemed to get through, the child let slip that he couldn't stop making fun of the new student because 'it made him cool with his friends', who hailed him the 'roast master'.
Having failed to stop his horrible behaviour, the parent confiscated his phone and formulated a plan.
"At breakfast on Saturday I sat him down very seriously and told him that the girl he had 'roasted' had been hospitalised, and the cops think it was intentional," they wrote on Reddit .
"He was pretty quick to tear up and say that he was sorry.
"I told him that he shouldn't have taunted her the way he did and I asked him about how she must have felt to want to do something like that.
"About an hour and a half later and a very serious talk, I thought it was time to reveal that she was okay.
"I told him that it wasn't real and he had a pretty mixed reaction. Mad at me of course for doing something like that but relieved that he hadn't contributed to a classmate hurting themselves."
After going back to school, the boy apologised to the girl and the bullying behaviour has reduced measurably.
The post finishes by the parent admitting they feel bad but 'didn't see much of another option', adding although the fake story distressed their son, maybe it saved another child's life.
After opening it up as to whether their actions had taken it too far, opinion was divided.
One wrote: "You did what many parents won't – put other people's safety and needs above their own kid's comfort."
Another said: "You lied, broke trust, and there probably ought to be some pretty serious therapy involved for a while, but you gave your son the wake up call he needed."
Others were less understanding of the situation, as one wrote: "You failed to teach your child empathy as he grew up and do no more than just take his phone away every once in a while for being a bully.
"How about therapy, speaking to his friends’ parents, making him apologize or community service? And instead resorted to emotional attacks?
"This is crappy parenting."
Did the parent do the right thing?
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