Wisconsin Town Permits Police To Fine Parents Of Alleged Bullies And I Think This Will Accomplish Jack

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stop bullying boyBullying, and ways to combat bullying, have taken center stage in recent years, and for good reasons. The popularity of the internet has made it easier than ever to bully someone and there have been a rash of suicides linked to bullying online. So you would think that any laws put in place to deter this phenomenon would be a good thing, right?

Maybe, but maybe not. The town of Monona, Wisconsin has decided to take a different approach to bullying prevention by allowing officers to ticket the parents of alleged bullies with a fine of $114 for a first offense.

The fine is part of a new ordinance that aims to stop bullying by children and teenagers. According to the Monona chief of police, Wally Ostrenga, the law is only targeted at parents who refuse to cooperate with authorities:

“Sometimes you’ll knock on someone’s door and they won’t want to talk to you — their kids are perfect, they could never do anything wrong. This is for those times when we get the door slammed in our faces.”

Their children have to be repeat offenders with each offense occurring within 90 days of each other. Parents who make an effort to stop the bullying behavior won’t be fined, according to Ostrenga.

What I don’t understand is how this will be enforced. Ostrenga doesn’t go into detail about how much proof will be needed before a fine can be issued, but bullying is almost always a he said/she said situation.  It’s a great idea, in theory, but there seems to be too much room for abuse for it to be valuable as a deterrent to bullying. Until we change the culture that fosters bullying behavior, laws like this one won’t do much good.

(Photo:  Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock)