Parents of children caught bullying in a Wisconsin town will be subject to a fine because of a new city ordinance.
The ordinance states that police and school district officials are required to notify parents of children accused of bullying. The parents will have 90 days after they are notified to make sure their children do not get involved in such acts again, Pix 11 reported.
If such activities are still found to be continuing, then the parents will be fined $366, according to NBC 26. A second offense will cost $681.
“It creates an avenue for us to work with parents to help find solutions,” said Shawano Police Chief Mark Kohl.
This move from lawmakers came in the aftermath of the Jakob Wagner incident, where the bullying victim Wagner targeted his former school on prom night, injuring two people and killing himself.
People who knew Wagner recalled that he had been repeatedly bullied by his peers in school. He was shot dead by the police.
Police have no problems with the new rule as of yet.
“At this point there’s no initial complaints or concerns out there, we’re just being proactive in working with the community to address this,” Kohl said.
This can be a good thing, explains Kohl. He admitted that many parents don’t even know their child is acting as a bully, and this will help them know more about what is going on with their kids. Bullying can have very harmful effects, he added.
“It can lead to other things [like] drug use…and unfortunately suicide,” he said.
The ordinance prohibits bullying and harassment of any kind. It includes cyber-bullying (within Shawano city limits). This rule is applicable for anyone under the age of 18.
According to Global News, some parents in Shawano said they agreed with the new bullying ordinance, while others said it doesn’t help to tackle the core of the problem.
“I really believe parents should just discipline their kids in the right way, and I think it’s a good idea,” one woman said to WGBA.
“People got to learn to get along with each other … I don’t think fining is the answer to it,” said another.
According to a government source, although no federal law directly addresses bullying, in some cases bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion.
When bullying and harassment overlap, federally funded schools – including colleges and universities – have an obligation to resolve the harassment. When the situation is not adequately resolved, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division may be able to help.
However, if the act of bullying creates a hostile environment at school. That is, it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.
According to a government site dedicated to stop bullying, Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
There has been mixed response to the rule. While some believe this will make parents more aware of their children’s behavior while others have argued that anti-bullying bill will ironically be used to bully others or will lead to kids getting abused by their parents because they are angry that they have to pay a fine.
[Photo by: Pixabay]