According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, almost one in four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year.
Over the past few years, more focus has been directed to prevent it from occurring. And for good reason, kids who have been bullied have an increased risk of sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and struggle academically.
A town in Wisconsin is taking prevention a step further and just passed a new bill that puts responsibility on the parents of the bullies. The new bill would fine parents hundreds of dollars if the bullying continues after first receiving a warning.
The law, passed by the city council of Shawano, covers a wide range of harassment including taking lunch money, cyber bullying (online comments or taunts) and applies to any children under the age of 18.
After the first incident is reported, police will warn the parents. If the child’s behavior does not improve within 90 days, the parents will receive a hefty $366 fine. Plus, a repeat offense will cost $681.
According to Good Housekeeping, there are critics to this new law. Some are afraid that the difference between teasing and harassment is very subjective and the monetary fine could hurt some families that are already struggling financially.
It’s an interesting approach and the city now will have to navigate through some of the new challenges that come as a result of the bill. I’m sure other cities are closely watching to see the results.
Photo by Rosino