By Courtney Gousman
Swansea, IL (KSDK) - It was a parental punishment that went awry. Police were called when a father tried to discipline his daughter on school grounds at High Mount Elementary School.
The father says he and his wife reached a breaking-point. Their 8-year-old daughter got into the habit of taking things that didn't belong to her, so they took the punishment public.
She's your typical 8-year-old. Amiyah White loves riding her bike, and when she grows up the third grader says she wants to be a nurse.
"I care about everyone and I'm a good girl and I do everything I can and every time someone's hurt then I will tell someone," said Amiyah.
Amiyah had a day she'll never forget, when her father made her wear a sign, reading, "I like to steal from others and lie about it," in her school parking lot.
Montrail White says he and his wife decided Amiyah's punishment after repeatedly catching her taking things that didn't belong to her. Her punishment was to wear a sandwich board as students made their way to school.
"I just wanted her to be seen. I just wanted her to understand if you do this later on in life, you're going to be seen," said Montrail.
School officials say the punishment turned into a spectacle with Montrail screaming obscenities at his daughter. The school called Swansea police.
"It's his right to discipline his child how he sees fit, within reason. Our concern is he's trying to do it in the middle of a very, very busy parking lot while screaming profanities," said High Mount School Superintendent Michael Brink.
Brink says Montrail eventually moved across the street, after being asked to leave school property. He sent a letter home to parents explaining what happened.
"The little girl was extremely upset, screaming and crying. There were a lot of confused and concerned parents. We had probably 480, 490 kids who saw this morning," said Brink.
Montrail denies using profanity. As for Amiyah, she says she's learned her lesson amid the controversy, and believes her father truly meant well.
"He did it because he loved me. He doesn't want me to end up in jail when I'm older. He wants me to have a good future," said Amiyah.
"I don't care what anybody else says. You know I'd rather have this now than have something in the paper later about my daughter that's worse. I'd do it again tomorrow if it come to it," said Montrail.
The superintendent the school says he thinks very highly of Amiyah, and says she's not a trouble kid.
Montrail says Swansea police threatened to arrest him for disturbing the peace, even after he moved off school property.
White says that sign will remain in his living room in case he needs it again, and to serve as a reminder for Amiyah.