In a small Wisconsin town, parents will be held liable if their children repeatedly bully or harass others, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Parents could face a $114 fine.
Linda Lee, president of Greendale Against Bullying, doesn’t think “a punitive approach” will work.
The advocacy group was formed after a high-profile bullying case in which a 17-year-old Greendale High School student scrawled a bomb threat on a bathroom wall. Prosecutors recommended a misdemeanor instead of a felony charge because the student had been repeatedly teased and bullied.
Often by the time parents learn of the bullying, it has already escalated to a serious situation, Lee said. The group has prioritized training peer ambassadors — teens who spread the anti-bullying message to their fellow students.
“Our focus and emphasis is on taking positive, constructive approach,” she said.
Before a parent or guardian can be ticketed, police officers must inform them in writing of a prior bullying offense within the past 90 days.
Schools choose not to expel a bully aren’t liable for the bully’s actions, a divided appeals court ruled in Pittsburgh.
A student who bullied and assaulted the Morrow sisters was suspended, adjudicated delinquent and repeatedly told to stay away from them, but wasn’t expelled. She continued to bully the Morrow sisters till they switched schools. The Morrows argued their equal protection rights were violated. The court majority said the school didn’t create the danger; dissenters said the school contributed to the danger by not expelling the bully.