By Stephanie Wolf
MONONA, Wisconsin — A new law in the city of Monona says the parents of children who bully others may be fined $114 for their child’s aggressive behavior.
Monona Police Chief Wally Ostrenga told the Wisconsin State Journal the rule only applies to parents who are considered “uncooperative” and unwilling to help find solution to their child’s bullying issues. Parents who make a good-faith effort to address the problem won’t receive a ticket.
The ordinance, which applies only to schools in the city of Monona, prohibits any person over the age of 12 from participating in bullying. The ordinance defines bullying as “an intentional course of conduct which is reasonably likely to intimidate, emotionally abuse, slander, threaten or intimidate another person and which serves no legitimate purpose.”
It is intended as a last-case scenario; before being ticketed, a parent or guardian must be informed in writing within the 90 days following the incident.
No specific incident preempted the ordinance. Ostrenga told the Wisconsin State Journal it was initiated by a broader concern about bullying and its possible correlation to the growing number of school shootings and teen suicides throughout the country.
The local response was optimistic. Jason Burns, the Executive Director of Equality Wisconsin — a nonprofit in Milwaukee that specializes in bullying prevention — thinks it’s a “fantastic” idea.
“It forces parents to be more involved in their child’s life, if they’re not already,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal.
Local officials hope the threat of a ticket will get parents to notice and fix their child’s behavior. Monona Mayor Bob Miller said the ordinance shows the city is taking the issue of bullying seriously.