Is your child a bully? You might want to find out if your son or daughter is picking on others, because it could cost you serious money.
The township of Shawano, Wisconsin, has passed a new city ordinance that will allow parents to be fined if their child is found guilty of bullying other kids and the parents did nothing to prevent it.
According to Shawano Police Chief Mark Kohl, he and fellow officers will be working with the local school district to inform parents if their children are bullies.
If they do not step in and their child does not stop picking on others, they will be slapped with a $366 fine. If it happens again within a year, they will have to cough up $681.
Kohl said that most parents of bullies are not even aware of their children’s aggressive behavior.
“It creates an avenue for us to work with parents to help find solutions,” Kohl told WGBA. “At this point there’s no initial complaints or concerns out there, we’re just being proactive in working with the community to address this.”
The ordinance is intended to encourage parents to learn more about what is going on with their children and to direct them not to tolerate bullying behavior, which Kohl said can have detrimental effects on other kids.
“It can lead to other things [like] drug use…and unfortunately suicide,” Kohl said.
The officer said that there are no “initial complaints or concerns out there” sparking the new law but that his department is simply “being proactive working with the community to address this.”
The ordinance has gotten a mixed reaction from local parents so far.
“I really believe that parents should discipline their kids in the right way and I think that’s a good idea,” parent Evelyn Roth told the station.
Though most parents agreed that children need to be kind to each other, and parents should not tolerate bullying, others questioned why local police needed to generate money at the expense of parents.
“I think if the parents know that their kid is bullying, there should be actions done, but I don’t know if they should get fined for it,” Natasha Clark said.
The ordinance applies to both physical and cyber-bullying among minors.
If your child is bullying others, KidsHealth recommends punishing your child and teaching them appropriate reactions to anger, such as walking away, and finding out what deeper issues, pressures and frustrations that might be causing it and working to address them.