Parents may face $1,000 in fines for kids’ bully behavior


Parents in one small Wisconsin town could soon be on the hook for just north of $1,000 in fines if their children harass and bully classmates.

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The right solution to bullying?

The city of Shawano, Wisc., recently adopted a new ordinance that would hit parents with hefty fines if they’re alerted to bully behavior and it persists.

Under the new rules, parents will receive one warning at the first documented instance of bullying. Following that, if there is a second documented instance of physical bullying or online bullying, they’ll face a fine of $366. If the behavior continues, they’ll face a second fine of $681. Added together, that’s $1,047.

“Our goal is not to ticket our way out this,” Police Chief Mark Kohl is quoted as saying. “We need parents to acknowledge and directly participate in curbing this.”

The response on Facebook has been varied. Some posters support the effort, while others noted that the fine would be an excessive burden on families that are probably already stretched financially thin.

The Shawano Police Department acknowledges these kinds of problems tend to happen in environments where close parental involvement is not always possible, such as single-parent families or in households where both parents work one or several jobs.

Still, Kohl is hopeful the ordinance will make some real impact. “Parental involvement is really important,” he said. “If kids believe the parents don’t care, that’s when we see these problems.”

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