FORT MORGAN - Jessica Rocha loves her children. But, she says she has run out of options in trying to curb their bad behavior at school.
She created a t-shirt with a message that the school won't let her share.
"We have taken away toys. We have taken away sports. We have taken away girl scouts," the kid's mom Rocha said. "I've tried nothing everything else. Nothing else is working."
Rocha says her fiancé's 8-year-old daughter, Aurora, and her 9-year-old son, Xavier, are having serious problems at their school, Green Acres Elementary. Rocha wants us to show their faces and tell their story, but 9News has decided not to use the last name of the kids (which is different than mom's) to protect them from internet searches in the future.
Aurora admits she likes to steal things. So, Rocha took a black marker and wrote these words in a regular t-shirt,"I steal. Steal means taking property belonging to someone else without permission." On the back it reads, "I steal. Please watch me."
"She would steal from Wal-Mart, from the neighbor, from a friend's house, from my purse," Rocha said.
Rocha says Xavier has been defiant and aggressive since first grade.
"Xavier is a bully in school. He likes to back talk teachers, do hateful things to students," said Rocha. "He argues thinks he's right about everything."
She had planned on making a "bully" shirt for Xavier. But, when Aurora wore the "thief" shirt to her 2nd grade class, the principal made her cover it up. District officials told Rocha that she cannot make her kids wear these shirts to school.
"I respect her right to do what's best for her family," said Ron Echols, superintendent of Fort Morgan Schools. "But, I wish she would leave the school out of it. We cannot support something that is demeaning to the kids."
Rocha says the school is overstepping its bounds.
"I don't think a T-shirt is harming my child at all," Rocha said.
When asked what happened at school when she wore the shirt for that one day, Aurora said, "I just made fun of."
Xavier did not want to talk to us. Rocha says she has discussed the use of the T-shirts with police and social services. She says since wearing the shirt at school, Aurora has stopped stealing.
"She was more embarrassed and more ashamed of what she had done by wearing the T-shirt than being grounded or having her toys taken away," Rocha said. "She has to answer to her peers. These are the kids that she's going to grow up with."
Echols did not want to offer any more comments, since this is an ongoing matter. But, he did raise the question if this is fair to other kids who might wonder why Xavier and Aurora are wearing these T-shirts.
Rocha says she just do something to teach her kids that they can't misbehave in school and steal or bully their classmates. She wants them to be accountable to fellow students.
"We are trying to parent at home, so they don't end up in foster care. So, they don't end up in jail. So, they don't end up in prison later on," Rocha said. "I am trying to be proactive in their school life as well as their home life."
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