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Teen Forced to Wear ‘Thief’ Shirt after Shoplifting Incident

NEW ORLEANS, La. (CNN) – A New Orleans teen who was caught stealing is getting a lesson in tough love from her mother. Her mom wants to make sure her daughter never steals again.

Whenever 13-year-old Aaroneisha Celestin walks out of the house, you can bet she’ll have on this unmistakable, neon green shirt.

“I feel like if you’re going to embarrass me by stealing, I’m gonna show you what its like to be embarrassed , everybody’s gonna know that you stole,” says mom Danaka Walker.

The seventh graders T-Shirt reads: ‘Hide your money. Hide Your Clothes. Hide everything ‘cuz I’m a thief.’

Walker adds, “I work too hard for her to steal and I’m not gonna have no thief living with me. I refuse to have a thief living with me.”

Mother Danaka Walker made the T-Shirt the day after Aaroneisha was arrested for shoplifting at Oakwood Center on the Westbank.

Walker says she was sick to her stomach picking her daughter up at the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Detention Center in Harvey.

“Even though it’s her first offense I want to make sure its her last. I don’t want to ever go back and have to go pick up my child from jail,” adds Walker.

So what does Aaroneisha have to say about everything. When asked by a reporter if her mother is being hard on her, she replies, “No.”

Aaroneisha says she’s embarrassed, but she understands her punishment is all out of love.

“Sorry, sorry for my mama and everybody else I hurt,” says Aaroneisha.

Aaroneisha’s father was murdered back in 2006 and the single mother of four says she has no choice but to practice tough love.

“Every day you look at the news, somebody’s getting killed. Somebody’s going to jail. Even at schools now, it’s always something. I don’t want my children to be in that statistic. I’m not, I can’t,” says Walker.

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  • Heather Bridges

    I think this is awesome! Seems like all parents do is cover up or bail out their kids when they break the law/rules. It’s great that she is teaching her a lesson in humility.

  • Obother

    The courts are making a faulty assumption that kids today have shame.
    I bet in a week and a half they’ll be selling that shirt at the mall.

  • Lily

    Go mom! More parents should take a cue from this.

  • Buck Futter

    At least she wasn’t forced to wear a shirt that says “Sexy to the hard core” that would be cruel.

  • champagne 5511

    Go Mom.. When my son did this, we walked back to the store, the store owner got to decide my son’s punishment..This had nothing to do with whether he pressed charges or not. He had to spend 6 hrs per week at the local Senior Center for 6 weeks. He never did steal again. They still have the bird house he built 20 yrs. ago. There were 3 of them. The other parents didn’t do anything. When we went to court the Judge did lecture them. The judge asked my why I did what I did. I told the Judge I feel that the person who is hurt by the action is the one who should decide the punishment.

  • Tammy

    Great job mom!! I bet later on down the road, that girl will be a judge. Today’s kids need life lessons like that.

  • KC

    I understand Mom’s frustration with her daughter’s criminal actions, but she needs to understand that there is a fine line when doling out tough love to teenagers. I think making her daughter wear the shirt for a day or 2 is a better tactic than having her wear it any longer & having a heart to heart talk about how she is struggling to afford the things they NEED & has to put things they WANT aside. She should also explain that if her daughter really wanted the item(s) she’d stolen, she may want to find odd jobs to save up for them. If you can remember how hard life seemed when you were in junior high school, try to imagine the taunts & outright abuse/bullying the child is enduring from her peers. A single day of wearing that shirt would warrant a whole lot of commentary & teasing, but a week’s worth (or longer) sets the child up for a lot more than humiliation. Many parents are turning toward public humiliation to castigate their children’s infractions & I can only hope that they remember to balance out the negative reprimands with positive lessons. When we are angry or disgusted with our children, parents seem blind from the rage that one can easily cross the line from punishment to emotional abuse, & if that happens: it WILL come back to bite them on the blubber. I can only hope that Mom is not sadistic & is actually intending more harm than good. We cannot know what that family does behind closed doors & I’ve seen so many horribly abused & neglected children given punishments of public humiliation, then much worse when they are home. I hope something positive comes out of this “lesson” for Aaroneisha because it’s apparent that her home life is ‘topsy turvy’ & it had to be bad enough to be seen around her neighborhood, school & town with that shirt, but I feel a little sick from worry that her mother allowed her full name & likeness to be known to the world via this FOX news story. Being a female “tween-ager” (ages 11 – 14) is ridiculously hard enough with all of the changes & pressures they endure, but add on world-wide public humiliation & things can go from terribly awful to too much to bare.