New Castle News

December 30, 2013

Top 10 Stories, Number 3: Parents of boy who bullied see progress

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Early indications are that some tough love imposed by parents of a New Castle boy may already be paying off.

“There’s been a total 180 with his behavior and attitude,” said Amber Carey of her 12-year-old son, a sixth grader at George Washington Intermediate Elementary School, who received an unusual punishment last month for bullying.

“We tried talking to him and grounding him, but nothing worked,” said Carey.

So Carey and stepfather Felix Mayle decided that Gage Duncan should stand at various locations around town while wearing a sign that identified him as a bully. Amber made the sign. The couple parked their SUV nearby at each location, including the bus stops before and after school.

Some passersby and others who learned of the prescribed punishment later expressed their concerns that the parents had gone too far.

Gage admitted at the time that having to wear a sign identifying him as a bully “was embarrassing” and he was realized that “it’s not right to pick on other kids.”

“We received alot of support and also caught a lot of flack for this particular method of discipline,” Carey said. “However, as a parent, I felt the need to stand up against bullying, using my own child as an example. I decided to become the voice, so to speak, for any child that became a ‘victim’ of my son’s behavior.

“Not only am I proud of Gage’s change in behavior, but I also feel no regret for the choices I made as his mother.”

The principal at George Washington, where the boy had twice been suspended for bullying younger students, said he has also noticed a positive change.

“Only time will tell, but his attitude seems to be much improved,” observed Joe Anderson. “When parents and teachers work together, things often get resolved.”

“We believed then that what we did was best and we still feel that way,” Carey said.

(Email: d_burcham@ncnewsonline.com)