State Rep. Frank Burns has introduced a bill that imposes penalties on the parents of children who bully other kids at school. For the first occurrence of bullying, parents would be notified by the school regarding any corrective actions were taken. A second offense requires parents to attend a class and a conference, but a third carries a financial hit.
Burns, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker and Democrat, released a statement on Monday asserting that bullying can lead to assaults and even suicide.
While the first to occurrences of a child bullying another student wouldn’t care a financial penalty, a third such event could lead to a fine of up to $500, according to a report by CBS News. There may also be a community service requirement.
“Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in any meaningful way,” said Burns in the statement. “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,” he adds.
Burns measure would hold parents accountable for the actions of their children while also requiring schools to inform parents each time their child is found to have bullied another student.
While the first instance would simply be reported to the parents, a second offense would require parents to attend a parenting class focused on bullying. They would also have to be present for a bullying resolution conference.
On the third, or any subsequent, occurrence during the same school year, the bill would ensure that the parents of the child would receive a court citation which includes a fine up to $500 and/or a community service requirement.
“If holding parents accountable is what it takes to reel in their kids’ bad behavior, then let’s do it,” Burns stated. “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.
Burns is also working on two additional bills. They would create an anonymous reporting system for bullying, require schools to provide accurate data on bullying in real-time and report all incidents to the Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools.