Roanoke dad forces son to run to school in the rain for bullying

Bryan Thornhill hopes other parents will learn from his example

By Jessica Jewell - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Millions of people across the world are reacting to a Roanoke father's punishment for his child.

Bryan Thornhill’s son was kicked off the bus for three days for bullying, so he decided to force him to run to school instead.

More than 23 million people have viewed the Facebook live video Bryan posted following his 10-year-old son Hayden, who ran a mile to school with his backpack on in the rain. It was his punishment for getting suspended from the bus for three days.

"He accidentally kicked a kid in the groin in the process of jumping over the kid's seat, crawling under the seats, jumping back and forth from seats, pushing or pulling a kid down the aisle," Bryan said.

Hayden, who has ADHD, has gotten in trouble at school before. Bryan said he decided to step up the punishment this time.

Click here to view the video.

"I was feeling bad for the rain but I was like ‘You know what? We need to wash this attitude away and calm him down.’ And it worked. It worked brilliantly," Bryan said.

"Yeah, I didn't have that much energy. That's the whole purpose of it was to make me have not that much energy," Hayden said.

But some people said the punishment went too far, so 10 News showed the video to a psychiatrist at Carilion to get his thoughts.

"I think it's going to be a role model for him, right? That when people are doing things that others don't want, others can force them to do things," Dr. Robert Trestman said.

Trestman said communicating is key, which Bryan says he does. In fact, he even runs with Hayden. He hopes other parents can learn from his example.

"Is he going to be perfect every day? No. Is he going to make mistakes? Yeah. Am I going to be there though to help him, guide him and fix him? Yeah. If he needs a hug, he's going to get a hug. If he needs to run, he's going to run. He's going to get what he needs to direct him to be a responsible young man," Bryan said.

"In the rain, it wasn't super fun but I think it was a good punishment because I think I deserved it," Hayden said.

Since the video has gone viral, Bryan said several media outlets have reached out to him offering to pay him for rights to his video. But he tells 10 News he will donate any money he makes off of it.

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