“Poor student forced to stand on corner”

Oklahoma mother makes daughter wear sign telling motorists about bad grades

Associated Press.  Published on MSNBC Friday, November 18, 2005



EDMOND, Okla.  Tasha Henderson got tired of her 14 year old daughter’s poor grades,  chronic lateness to class and her talking back to teachers. She decided to teach the girl a lesson.

     She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: “I don’t do my homework and I act up in school.”

     “This may not work. I’m not a professional,” said Henderson, a 34-year-old mother of three. “But I felt I owed it to my child to at least try.”

     In fact, Henderson has seen a turnaround in her daughter’s behavior in the past week and a half. But the punishment prompted letters and calls to talk radio from people either praising the woman or blasting her for publicly humiliating her daughter.

     “The parents need more education than she does if they can’t see that they are killing their daughter psychologically,” Suzanne Ball said in a letter to The Oklahoman newspaper.

     Marvin Lyle, said in an interview: “I don’t see anything wrong with it. I see the other extreme, where parents don’t care what the kids do, and at least she wants to help her.”

     Coretha has been getting C’s and D’s as a freshman at Edmond Memorial High in this  Oklahoma City suburb. Edmond Memorial is considered one of the top high schools in the state academically.

     While Henderson stood next to her daughter at the intersection, a passing motorist called police with a report of psychological abuse. An Oklahoma City police officer made a report. Mother and daughter were asked to leave after about an hour, and no citation was issued.

     “There wasn’t any criminal act involved that the officer could see that would require any criminal investigation,” Sgt. Charles Phillips said.

     Tasha Henderson said her daughter’s attendance has been perfect and her behavior has been better since the incident.

     Coretha admitted that the punishment was humiliating, but said it got her attention. “I won’t talk back,” she said quietly, hanging her head.

     She already has been forced by her parents to give up basketball because of slipping grades. She said she hopes to improve in school so she can play next year.

Essay topic- Describe your feelings about this story, pretending to be either the mother or the daughter.




     You know that your brother has committed a serious crime. The police are looking for him and it is all over the news. Do you tell the police where he is, or is family loyalty more important?

Background, based on a true story:

 My Brother Ted

     Theodore Kaczynski, Ph.D, is an American convicted murderer who sent bombs through the mail to various people over almost eighteen years, killing three and wounding 29. He justified his crimes as an attempt to fight against what he perceived as the evils of technology. Kaczynski gave up a teaching position at a university to pursue a career as a solitary anarchist. He was the target of the FBI's most expensive manhunt ever.  

     Unequivocally, solving the crime was more luck than police work – David Kaczynski deserves most of the credit for bringing his brother to justice. David had to deal with the trauma of turning Ted in for the greater good. He had to deal with the knowledge that the money the family sent Ted over the years – around $17,000 – was spent, largely, on building and transporting bombs to kill innocent people. Ted had often claimed he needed the money for medical reasons, and time and time again, he betrayed David.

     Kaczynski's younger brother David recognized Ted's writing style from the published reasons for the bombings. He notified authorities, who sent officers to arrest Kaczynski on April 3, 1996, at his remote cabin outside Lincoln, Montana. 

     When David received the $1,000,000 reward for uncovering the bomber, his selfless nature again surfaced – half the money went immediately to bomb victims and their families. The balance was needed for the mammoth legal bills the family had incurred.

     When Time Magazine asked David if he felt guilty, he said, “Guilt suggests a very clear conviction of wrongdoing, and certainly I don’t feel that I did wrong. On the other hand, there are tremendously complicated feelings not just about the decision itself, but a lifetime of a relationship in which one brother failed to help protect the other.”

     There are many heroes in this case but without a doubt, not one stands taller than David Kaczynski.

     During the sentencing, every victim and every legal representative held David in high esteem. One of the jury members, Candice DeLong, summed up the general feeling when she wrote, “To my mind, David Kaczynski deserves to be named Man of the Year.”