What would you do if your teenage son got busted for smoking marijuana? One Lowcountry mother isn't taking it lightly and she's doing all she can to make sure he doesn't do it again.
Pacing a main intersection in Beaufort, wearing a sign reading "Smoked pot, got caught! Don't I look cool? not!" and "Learn from me, don't do drugs" isn't exactly the way Brandon Mathison, 13, planned on spending his Friday night. But after he got busted this past weekend for smoking marijuana with his friends, this is the punishment his mother, April Mathison, came up with.
"Timeouts and taking things away just doesn't work any more. Sometimes a little public humility is what they need nowadays to get a point across. If this works for him and maybe saves one or two other students from thinking about picking this stuff up, then I feel like I've done my job as a parent," Mathison said.
When she first told him about the punishment, she says her son was surprised.
"He was kind of embarrassed before we even got out here," she said. "He was like 'You're serious? You're going to have me stand on the road with a sign?' I was like 'Yes sir, if this is what it takes.' I don't think he believed me at first - I really don't."
But she didn't back down. He has walked the intersection two times this week. He has also been drawing some attention.
"[I got] all kinds of looks. There are people stopping to talk to me," Brandon Mathison said. "Mostly they are yelling at me to stop."
It's a lesson Brandon is not likely to forget. He said he won't be smoking pot again because he doesn't want to do this again.
While he certainly isn't enjoying this punishment, he seems to be getting the message.
"I got to change my life and stop," said Brandon Mathison.
It may not be your typical punishment, but Mathison is hoping it works.
"I never in a million years pictured my 13 year old getting busted for marijuana. I'm always bragging about what a great kid he is. He is great in school. I just never pictured this," she said. "We as parents have to step it up; we have to protect our children and if this is what it takes, it's what I'm going to do."
She's hoping this will be a lifelong lesson that will keep Brandon on the right road.
Mathison says she has received a lot of positive feedback from other parents and from many people driving by.