Parents of bullies could face a fine of $250 (£188) as well as a 15-day jail sentence under a new law in America.
The new law, which is being pushed in the state of New York, also aims to punish parents if their child violates city curfews or breaks the law twice within a 90-day period.
While some may view this as being a step too far to combat bullying and juvenile delinquency, it turns out it was a parent who actually pushed for it to be passed.
Victoria Cargo witnessed her son being attacked by another child this year in May and decided enough was enough.
According to The Sun Cargo claimed:
This young man just sucker punched him right in the face.
What really alarmed me about the situation was the brazen act of violence in front of a parent.
As a response to the attack, she setup a Facebook page which called for other parents to report incidents concerning bullying – this in turn inspired lawmakers to pass the controversial act.
Even though the law is in place, North Tonawanda City School District Superintendent, Greg Woytila, hopes the town’s hand won’t be forced to actually enforce the law, unless the case happens to be of the most ‘extreme’ circumstance, adding:
We need to do a better job and we are continually trying to do that.
City attorney, Luke Brown explained:
What we’re really looking for is to engage the parents in the process and try and work on a solution.
Ultimately no one wants to see a parent jailed for transgressions caused by one of their children.
While it may seem Cargo is coming off as an over-bearing busy body she hopes the law will give bullies and young troublemakers food for thought about their actions and consequences.
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I think that these teens have figured out that they can get away with this which is why they’re repeat offenders.
But if there’s a tougher law in place it may give them pause?
Despite being drawn up and approved recently, it’s actually based on a law which is already in place in the state of Wisconsin, where parents can potentially be fined up to $681-a-year (£512) if their child continues to bully other children.
Since 1999 all 50 states have signed an anti-bullying legislation, with Georgia being the first to sign it.
In September 2011 the state of New Jersey passed a tough bullying law where each school must report each case of bullying to state officials, the state then grades each school based on bullying standards, policies, and incidents.
Furthermore, each school is required to have an effective plan to deal with bullying – school administrators and teachers are required to deal with any incidents of bullying reported to them or witnessed by them and teachers must report any incidents they witness to the administrators.
Offenders in question risk either suspension or expulsion if convicted – this ranges from minor teasing to severe cases.
However the legislation has its critics who claim it’s being too excessive and criminalises the bullying behaviour rather than address the issue in hopes of rehabilitating the offender.