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Woman ordered to wear ‘idiot’ sign for passing school bus on sidewalk

Screen grab from YouTube

A Cleveland judge has decided a fine and a 30-day licence suspension weren't harsh enough penalties for 32-year-old Shena Hardin, who was caught on camera driving on the sidewalk to avoid having to stop for a school bus that was letting off children.

So he ordered a good old-fashioned public shaming.

For two mornings next week, Associated Press reports, Hardin will have to stand at a crosswalk wearing a sign that reads: "Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus."

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It's hard to dispute the facts of that statement, though online comments ranged from thinking the judge made a good call to wondering if there wasn't something a little "medieval" about the sentence. (Though, presumably, the good citizens of Cleveland will resist throwing rotten tomatoes at Hardin.)

But it's not like she could dispute the charge, after the bus driver laid in wait for her to catch the deed on camera. "It's 8:34, and here she comes," driver Uriah Herron says, filming a silver SUV as it travels down a residential street and zips through telephone poles onto the adjacent sidewalk – at one point even passing by another stopped car to do so. The video captures a police car emerging from a side street and stopping her. "All right, she has been caught," Herron announces. "Justice has been served."

Hardin will have to be at her post with her sign from 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. But her two "idiot" hours will no doubt carry on forever on YouTube, which may be the harshest sentence of all.

Publicly branding someone an idiot for doing something, well, idiotic – fitting justice or unfair penalty?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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