Shame

A boy caught stealing is punished with '15 minutes of shame' on Tuesday as his mother looks on at the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway in La Canada Flintridge. (Photo by Joe Piasecki)

A woman whose son was caught stealing a skateboard at La Cañada High School chose public shame as punishment for the 17-year-old’s misdeed.

“My name is Justin. I am a thief,” read a homemade sign the mother forced the boy to hold on Tuesday at the northeast corner Foothill Boulevard and Angeles Crest Highway in La Cañada Flintridge.

“It’s my 15 minutes of shame,” said Justin, who held the sign — often in front of his face — from 4:45 to 5 p.m. as his mother looked on from the edge of the La Cañada Town Center shopping plaza.

The woman did not give her name or the boy’s last name, but said she “wanted all his friends to see.”

The boy said that school officials reported the theft to his mother but did not involve police.

The woman acknowledged seeing recent media reports of other children forced to hold signs to publicly atone for misbehavior, but said the reports did not influence her choice of punishment.

“It’s a lesson to all the other kids out there,” the mother said. “If you want to take something that’s not yours…”

“ … You’ve got to pay the consequences,” said her son.

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-- Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Twitter: @JoePiasecki