Bullying is a common problem that all kids face at school or elsewhere. One town in New York decided that enough was enough when it came to bullying. I came across this story over at Scary Mommy.
Parents of children who bully other children could face a fine and/or jail time under a new city law in North Tonawanda, New York, a city just north of Buffalo. Which means that the kids who bully won’t just be held accountable, through things school expulsion, but their parents may also be legally responsible.
Hey, I'm all for doing what we can to prevent bullying but doesn't this seem a bit extreme?
The law took effect on October 1, and according to the Washington Post, parents could be fined $250 and/or sentenced to 15 days in jail if their child violates the city’s curfew or any other city law – which includes an anti-bullying law –twice within a 90-day period. This town takes parental responsibility seriously — very seriously.
Look, I think having high expectations for good behavior is a very positive thing. But have people thought this one through? Putting a parent in jail may cause more problems for the families who can least afford. That parent will have a much harder time holding down a job and this might cause far more conflict in the family relationship.
City officials said the law is geared toward minors who repeatedly bully other children in public places. The Washington Post also reported that members of the city council – which unanimously passed the law – hope the new law will put an end to bullying by holding parents accountable for their kid’s actions.
Can't parents hold their own kids accountable? This seems like a significant overreach by the city.
The law comes after four teens were reportedly expelled from North Tonawanda Middle School for alleged bullying, and the town’s leaders say it’s intended to address repeat bullying.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, parents obviously play a critical role in stopping and preventing bullying. According to StopBullying.gov, parents typically believe that their children are less involved in bullying (as victims or perpetrators) than their children report. The organization suggests that parents talk to their children early and often about bullying, and model how to treat others with kindness.
I think having a very open line of comuunication is ciritcal. Most schools are far more aware of and responsive to bullying issues on campus.
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