Anti-Bullying Law implemented in Western New York

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Anti-Bullying Law implemented in Western New York

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By Chris Andrew ’18

Parents are being held accountable by law for the bullying behavior of their children in the city of North Tonawanda. This upstate New York town is similar in size to our population in Westport. Earlier this month, a law was passed that stated that parents of a child under the age 18 with two counts of bullying in a 90-day period could be fined $250 and sentenced to 15 days in jail. The town was dealing with difficult teens and needed something more aggressive to put an end to the abuse.

I think this law is a good idea because parents need to know what their children are doing, especially if it is harming the wellbeing of others. Many parents may be unaware that their child is bullying another child and must be made aware.  Getting the parents involved should have the best result.

Parents have a responsibility for their minor children. The new law in North Tonawanda followed one that was adopted years earlier in several cities in Wisconsin. The police chief in Plover, Wisconsin reported that they have issued warnings, but no fines since the law went into effect in 2015 because the threat of punishment was sufficient to get parents’ attention.

According to stopbullying.gov, a large study found that nearly half of children in grades 4-12 reported being bullied in the last month. Bullying can lead to feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, depression and anxiety which can contribute to suicidal behavior. We need to protect those who are at risk.

It will be interesting to see if this city in upstate New York has the same positive results as seen in the towns in Wisconsin.

 

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