Wisconsin teen: I hate to see bullying, and anyway that you can try to stop it would be good.
Demetrius: That is exactly what the people of Monona, Wisconsin are trying to do by sending a message to the parents: if your child is a bully, you will pay.
Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck: It’s an approach that is certainly new to me. We would always prefer to work one-on-one with the parents, one-on-one with the students. Hopefully, we would never get to the point where we would have to be fining parents.
Demetrius: This community’s new anti-bullying law, known as the Parent Liability Ordinance, says people can face a $114 fine if they ignore warnings from police about their children who are repeat bully offenders.
Chief Walter Ostrenga: It’s the ones where – and they’re rare, it’s rare occasions – where you knock on the door and they say, ‘Hey, my child has no problems, mind your own business, get out of here,’ and they slam the door in your face.
Demetrius: Now, before any tickets are given, a parent or guardian must first be given a warning of a prior incident of bullying with that same minor within the past ninety days.
Now, city officials say that these tickets will be given sparingly, but they just hope this controversial new law will start a nationwide conversation on how to help the nearly 3.2 million students that get bullied every year.
But not everybody is convinced this new law is a good idea.
Wisconsin teen: I don’t think that is going to solve the problem for bullying. I think the kid needs a one-on-one talking with the victims of it, so then he actually knows what the problem is.
Wisconsin teen: I’m not sure I agree with punishing the parents because of something the kids did. It’s not necessarily the parents’ responsibility.
Demetrius: But officials say that they just hope the mere threat of a fine will have a positive effect on the problem.
Chief Ostrenga: We want parents to be good parents. We want them to do the right thing. We want people to be treated with respect and dignity, and not everyone does that.
Demetrius: Demetrius Pipkin, Channel One News.