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Could Fining Parents Help Crack Down On Bullying?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Across the country, cities and states are looking at ways to better crack down on bullying and one state could soon punish the parents of bullies.

A new bill aims to hold parents accountable for repeated bullying by their children, and if the behavior doesn't change it could cost them. It's a three strikes law for bullying, and on the third strike, parents will be cited and on the hook for a steep fine.

It happens on every campus in some form or another.

"Nobody should ever be put through it," said Sacramento resident Johnnie Corker.

Bullying is a growing concern in classrooms across the country.

"It's easy for them to do it now because they can do it online," said mother Sabrina Winton.

According to, 28 percent of students from 6th to 12th grade have been bullied. Now, an East Coast lawmaker wants to stop it by penalizing parents.

Pennsylvania Rep. Frank Burns (D-72nd District) is proposing a three-tiered system. If a student bullies once, his or her parents will be notified of the incident. If it happens a second time, parents would have to take a class on bullying prevention and on the third strike, they will receive a court citation and a fine of up to $500 or community service.

"Get the parents involved make them aware teach the kids how to behave and treat each other right," said Winton.

One local mom brought up a similar idea last month after reports of bullying surfaced at a Woodland Elementary School, saying making parents take time out of their lives to attend anti-bullying meetings would help them better discipline their bully child. So far, there is no such law in California.

CBS13 did find the city of Carson in Southern California tried to pass an ordinance allowing fines for bullying by students, but it failed in 2014.

Some don't think the proposed approach would even work.

"The parents can't control everything. What's a fine going to do? It isn't going to stop nobody," said father Richard Wright.

Those who've witnessed the lifelong impacts bullying can have, say anything is worth a try.

"Maybe if they're fined, the parents are going to be like 'oh my kids are doing that' so it may stop a lot of kids," said Corker.

CBS13 couldn't find any current proposals to enact bullying fines here in California, but it is gaining steam across the Midwest and East Coast. Several cities in Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania are now fining parents if their child is repeatedly bullying other kids at school.


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