DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.– A piece of legislation being proposed by a State Representative could put the parents of bullies on the hook for a fine.
Rep. Frank Burns , D-Cambria, has proposed a piece of legislation that would fine the parents of school bullies up to $500 and require possible community service in an attempt to curb the issue of student taunting and terrorizing peers.
“Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in any meaningful way,” said Burns, who made it his mission to visit classrooms throughout his district last year to talk about bullying and have students sign an anti-bullying pledge. “When it’s not addressed, bullying can escalate quickly from taunts and hurtful online posts to physical assaults and—in worst cases—suicide. Holding students, parents and officials at all levels accountable is the only way to put an end to this scourge.”
The bill, which is one in a package of three that Burns plans to introduce, would require schools to notify parents each time their child bullies another child.
After the first incident, parents would be told what action the school took. After a second incident, parents would be required to take a parenting class on bullying and would be asked to attend a bullying resolution conference.
However, if a student bullies a third time or more in the same school year, Burns’ bill would ensure that the bully’s parents receive a court citation and the related stiff penalty of a fine up to $500 and/or community service.
“If holding parents accountable is what it takes to reel in their kids’ bad behavior, then let’s do it,” said Burns, who is urging other lawmakers to sign onto his legislation. “With the advent of cyberbullying making this problem even more pervasive, we can’t afford to sit back and do nothing. No student should ever have to go to school in fear or shame.”
The other two bills in Burns’ comprehensive approach would require the Department of Education to establish an anonymous reporting system for bullying, and would provide for accurate, real-time data on bullying by requiring schools to track and report incidents to the department’s Office of Safe Schools.
Our question is, do you think the parents of bullies should be fined?