The time has come in our nation when we have finally started to address the issue of bullying. What was long considered to be a natural part of growing up has become a national discussion on how to create safe places and nurturing environments for our children.
Realizing that the behavior of children is both something they learn through observing adults, and that can be redirected through the proper measures, on Wisconsin town has come up with an interesting plan to stop bullies. You are going to love their idea.
The Shawano city council just approved a new ordinance that allows the local police department to intervene in cases of bullying. The law applies to any child under the age of eighteen years old and is designed to target a number of types of harassment, from stealing lunch money to cyberbullying.
Parents of minors who are accused of these actions will receive a warning and a ninety day probationary term in which to change their child’s behavior. If they do not, the parent will receive a $366 fine for the first offence and $681 fine for each repeat offence.
The idea is that bullying both begins at home and needs to be dealt with by the parents.
A large majority of parents in town seem to in favor of such a measure, but there are a few who find it problematic.
Some critics say that the issue of bullying is too subjective. They point to the difference and distinctions between harmless banter and teasing, and more aggressive harassment. They contend that it simply is not a clear line and cannot be enforced, nor would fining parents necessarily impact children who engage in bullying.
Shawano Police chief Mark Kohl has responded to these criticisms, saying “This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt.”
Roughly one in four American children are subjected to bullying at some point in school.
People have been sharing their thoughts on this new ordinance, as well as other ideas on confronting bullying, saying things like:
“I think there should be a requirement of six months of family counseling for the bully and his family to get to the root of why the child feels the need to behave like this. I think if a parent has to lose some of their free time in a regular basis they will be more likely to take the problem seriously. No one is born a bully. There has to be something going on with them too.”
“I think they should go one step further and have the child do some type of community service and FEEL the punishment too, not just in their parents’ wallet.”
“I don’t disagree with the fine. However, I think bullies should be made to do online public school. And pass! They shouldn’t be able to stay in school and cause heartache and pain. most kids are there to learn and make friends. Those doing the opposite should feel what it’s like to be alone.”
“The bully should pay for any fines acquired by doing community service. The bully should be suspended, expelled and if need be arrested for their actions. The bully must be held accountable for their actions. Some kids don’t care if their parents get stuck paying their fines because it’s not their money. That already happens. Plus, counseling and (or) group therapy should be made mandatory for all bullies and if necessary the bully’s family.”
Do you think this new law is a good idea, or should they go further? Do you think bullying is a problem that society can address, or is it just a phase kids go through? Share your ideas with us here.