Many have seen the unsettling evolution of bullying over the past few years, as it’s gone beyond just the schoolyard. Many of us can still remember the days when bullying at school was mainly confined to someone’s school or maybe neighborhood. But the child would at least usually have some form of refuge at home. Well, that’s not the case anymore. With the rise of social media, children are now subjected to bullying 24/7. Even worse, bullies can enlist similarly mean-spirited people from around the world to pile on their victim’s social humiliation.
And make no mistake, this has gone beyond childish teasing. There are several cases where children have been pushed to commit suicide, and even encouraged by their bullies to do it.
To make matters worse, often times the parents of these bullies either deny their child’s involvement or shrug it off.
But soon those attitudes may change, at least in one small town in Wisconsin. That’s because the Shano Police Department is now enforcing a new law that could make a big difference in protecting children from this type of cruelty.
You see, a few weeks ago, the city council passed what may be the strongest anti-bullying ordinance in the country.
Under this new law, parents are held responsible for their child’s behaviors.
“We feel without getting the parent involved, just giving a ticket or fining someone out of this isn’t the answer,” Chief Mark Kohl of the Shawano Police Department said.
Here’s how the law works:
First, the parents would get a warning when the police suspect their child is involved in bullying activity.
Then, at that point, the parent has 90 days to address their child’s behavior.
In this way, police put the power first and foremost in the hands of the legal guardians. But they also must carry the responsibility of reforming their child.
At the end of the day, it’s up to the parents to decide how they will help their child change their behavior.
But if nothing changes, the parent must pay a monetary fine of $366.
If that still doesn’t work and the child has two offenses in a year, the fine will equal $681.
As you can imagine, there is split support behind this measure among parents.
Some parents support it: “I think something needs to be done for sure,” says one Shawano parent.
While others are concerned that bullying is a subjective situation, and it will be challenging to judge these cases fairly.
And police remind parents:
“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, discredit, and really demean a person.”
In the meantime, other cities like Plover and Monona have already implemented this law with some positive results, so far, no fines have been issued.
What do you think about this law? Is it fair? Will it solve the problem, or is it a lazy solution? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, and please be sure to share this story with your friends and family.