Bullying-related suicides account for more than 6,000 deaths per year for individuals between the ages of 15-24. With the victims sometimes being in grade school. And while some still treat it with the same old "kids will be kids" mentality, more are taking it seriously and drawing attention to the connection between bullying and suicide.
While bullying prevention programs are on the rise, one Wisconsin town took further measures to curb bullying. They're holding the parents accountable. An ordinance was passed in the city council of Shawano, which allows police to intervene with aggression happens.
The law applies to anyone under the age of 18 and covers various forms of harassment. The harassment can range from taking lunch money to cyberbullying on social media. City officials say they will warn parents after the first incident, but if the child's behavior doesn't change within 90 days they'll get a $366 fine. A repeat bully offender will be fined $681.
While most parents agree bullying needs to stop, the new ordinance has mixed feelings over those in the town. Critics largest concern is the difference between playful banter and harassment, which can be difficult to determine since kids are always teasing one another.
In response to that concern, police Chief Mark Kohl says, “This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt.”
What are your thoughts? Should parents be held accountable?