Wisconsin City Will Now Fine Parents If Children Bully Or Harass Others

In America, one out of every four children between the ages of 12 and 18 have reported that they've been bullied during the school year. This month, the city council in Shawano, Wisconsin passed an ordinance with a clear plan for combating any bullying or harassment. Parents will first be notified of their child’s behavior and given 90 days to address it. If it occurs again, parents will be issued a $366 fine. A second offense would result in a fine of nearly $700.

Mark Kohl, Shawano’s chief of police, said: "It is specifically a bullying ordinance, and a harassment ordinance, that prohibits that kind of behavior." Law enforcement officers are not targeting "playground-type kid talk," he said, but rather more serious incidents that take an obvious toll on the victim.

Bullying is any behavior that intentionally intimidates, threatens, slanders, or emotionally abuses another child. Harassment can be physical, verbal or written.

Kohl went on to say, "If it happens on school property, they have their own policies and procedures that we don’t enforce and we don’t get involved with. This is basically [for] off the school grounds, outside of school hours." The ordinance has since received a lot of media attention.

Kohl added, "It’s been 99.9 percent positive." Dr. Steven Meyers, a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University and a Chicago-based clinical psychologist said,"“Ordinances that fine parents for children’s bullying haven’t been carefully studied. Although approaches such as this one may have an intuitive appeal, programs that are effective in curbing bullying are much more comprehensive and ideally are preventative."

In addition, the program makes it much more difficult for parents to ignore their child's bullying. Meyers asked, "Should parents be fined when their child is simultaneously a bully and a victim, which does occur?" Kohl said, "The intent is to solicit help from the parents, and work in partnership with them."

Photo: Blogs Dunya News

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