MURRAY, UT (CNN/KSTU) -- She found out her fourth grader was bullying a kid because of the clothes she wore, so a Utah mom headed to a thrift store to teach her child an embarrassing lesson in fashion.
A $50 pile of clothes has proven to be an invaluable lesson for 10-year-old Kaylee. For the last two days, the fourth grader's wardrobe has been replaced with outfits her mom picked out at a thrift shop hoping she'd see what it's like to spend a day in someone else's shoes. Stepmom Ally says, "She really needs to know that this had such an effect on someone else's life that she has to feel how that felt to know that it was wrong."
Wednesday, her mom got word from a teacher that Kaylee had been bullying a classmate for the last three weeks, harassing the student about how she looked to such an extent that the girl wanted to leave school. Executive director of The Children's Center Doug Goldsmith says, "She would take her out on the playground and call her names and tell her she was a slob and tell her she dressed like a sleaze."
But when just talking to Kaylee didn't seem to get the message across, mom decided to show her. Ally says, "I thought this is a perfect moment for us to really teach her, this is right, this is wrong, which path are you going to take?"
The tactic strays from the norm, according to Goldsmith. He says, "What happens with that is the person walks away at the end saying now I'm really angry, that was humiliating and now I'm angry."
He recommends a different approach in cases of bullying. He says, "What may be better for most parents is if we teach children empathy by having them volunteer at a place where there's poor people."
But when Kaylee got home from school Friday, she wasn't angry. What she says about bullying, "Because it's stupid and it's mean. It hurts them."
Embarrassed, maybe, by what her friends thought of her clothes, but mostly, understanding of the lesson her mom wanted her to learn. Ally says, "I think now that she knows what it feels like, and she doesn't want to be that person anymore because she knows how hurtful it is."