Bullying is an issue we are reading about more and more. In all its forms, bullying can be emotionally damaging and physically harmful to an alleged victim. As such, people can face criminal charges for offenses including harassment, hazing and cyberbullying in Pennsylvania.
However, many of the people involved in bullying are young children, and they often engage in this behavior online or in school. In other words, they are typically away from their parents. But recently, a Pennsylvania lawmaker proposed a bill to hold parents accountable if their child is caught bullying.
‘Three strikes’ for parents
According to reports, the proposed bill gives parents three chances to correct their child’s alleged behavior. After the first incident, the school would notify parents of a child’s bullying. After a second incident, parents would be ordered to attend a class and a conference on bullying and bullying resolutions. After a third incident, parents would have to pay $500 and may have to perform community service as well.
Will this address the problem?
Supporters of this approach say that holding the parents accountable for their child’s bullying can “reel in” a child’s bad behavior. Parents would have more incentive and motivation to stop their child from bullying if they are also facing penalties.
However, bullying is a complicated issue with no easy solution. In some cases, children bully others because they are bullied at home; adding penalties for a parent could only make the situation worse. In other cases, children are struggling with emotional or mental issues that make them difficult to control. Often, parents of these children are already doing whatever they can to stop bad behaviors.
It is worth noting that Pennsylvania also has laws that address bullying. For instance, a child who engages in cyberbullying or cyber harassment can be ordered to participate in a diversionary and education program. An offender could also face a possible third degree misdemeanor.
What do you think? Could holding parents accountable for a child’s bad behavior reduce the occurrence of bullying?