The boy stood on the sidewalk near the Avondale Drive intersection with large neon-orange signs made out of poster board taped to his chest and back.
Handwritten on the signs were the words "I don't listen to my teachers. I'm suspended. This is my punishment."
The boy's mother, Decembre Pierce, told ABC11 she forced her son Parrish to wear the sign because she'd reached her limit.
"My 12-year-old son is constantly acting up, getting trouble, and I'm tired of it. This is my last resort. I've tried spankings, taking his privileges away, and nothing has worked," she said.
The punishment was certainly eye-catching, although not everyone approved.
"I think it's crazy because I don't think he deserves to be out here in the rain and everything," offered passerby Xavier Brown. "That's not gonna change anything."
Parrish's mother said she was ready to face criticism.
"I'm prepared for that. Everyone has their own way of parenting, but this is my son that I love dearly and the only thing that I have left to do. I don't want to send him away. I don't want him to get arrested," she said.
Durham police were called to check on the situation, but when they learned what was going on, they used the time to talk to Parrish. They tried to echo what his mother was already telling him.
Some of it seemed to be getting through.
"I'm feeling kind of down that I got myself into this by hanging with the wrong crowd," the boy told ABC11.
So will he act up at school again?
"No, not planning to," said Parrish.
But Decembre Pierce said she's ready if he does. Next time he gets in trouble, she said she'll make him wear a T-shirt in front of his classmates with a similar message to the one on the sign. And, she said she'll follow him to school every day to make sure he's wearing it.