Monona, WI – People in the Dane County community of Monona are fed up with bullying – so much so they’ve enacted a legal order which will impose fines in hopes of deterring it.
A Wisconsin suburb has adopted a rather provocative ordinance, which will allow law enforcement to cite guardians of chronic bullies in an effort to discourage the persistent recidivism of harassment.
A written warning is issued. Thereafter, if a ticketed bully re-offends within 90 days, the municipal court can levy a $114 fine against the tormenting child’s parents. The order will also cover cyber bullying, an unfortunate medium that has emerged with the advent of technology. Hateful emails, threatening texts or social media posts fall within the purview of cyber bullying.
No particular issue or incident provoked the establishment of the order. This is the first community to take this type of action against an ever-growing problem, creating it to address a “global issue” on a local level.
However, authorities are likely not going to impose the ordinance often, given situational discretion as there are plenty of parents who are completely incapable of controlling their child and have tried everything.
Bullying is no longer seen as kids being kids, nor is it a mere temporary behavior that oppressors will just grow out of. Kids who victimize others tend to do so because of a psychological disorder, mental illness, or they themselves have been the victim of some type of abuse.
Bullies can also simply be smug brats who have been enabled to misbehave, given little structure and discipline by parents who ignore the signs their little perfect angel is a cruel, abusive devil to his/her peers, both mentally and physically – realizing too late when their baby is being carried off in handcuffs on an assault charge.
Incidentally, those are the types of parents this particular ordinance was designated for. “It’s the ones where you go knocking on the door and they say, ‘Hey, my kid’s perfect, you have no reason to come here,’ and slam the door in your face and they’re totally uncooperative. Those are the ones we’re trying to make an impact on,” says Walter Ostrenga, the town’s chief of police. He feels parents should be responsible for their child’s actions.
The National Education Association estimates that roughly 160,000 children miss school every day due to anxiety over a potential attack or intimidation brought upon by other students. Nearly a third of all school-aged kids are subject to torment – insensitively culled out for their appearance, socioeconomic status, size, shape, color, academic and athletic performance, culture, religion, and gender.
The news reports numerous incidences where a victim of harassment has either been seriously injured or killed in connection to a physical assault by their tormentor or driven to commit suicide.
Earlier this year, a 12-year-old victim passed away the day after his birthday, falling prey to pneumonia while in a medically induced coma. The injuries that led to the hospitalization were the result of a playground assault at the hands of a bully. The boy responsible for the severe seizure provoking concussion and broken nose was suspended for two days from school.
In May, a 12-year-old named Gabrielle Molina took her own life due to the constant cyber-bullying, slut-shaming, and name calling – victimized by her schoolmates. Earlier in the same month another young girl, 14-year-old Braylee Rice, hanged herself from the bleachers outside of her middle school. Her family also cited bullying as the driving force behind her life-ending decision.
For those victims who endure, the effects of this type of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse can carry over into adulthood – leading to a heightened occurrence of depression, anxiety, antisocial personality disorders, and suicidal preoccupations.
Do you think fining the parents is an effective way to discourage bullying? Were you a school bully or were you bullied? For the bullies, why do you think you treated your fellow classmates the way you did?
[Image via Shutterstock]