UPDATE: Parents of children who bully can be cited in Monona

By: Britni McDonald
By: Britni McDonald

UPDATED Monday, June 3-- 5:30 p.m.

"It's really scary to think that someone would commit suicide because of bullying, so I really think we need to get to the root of it," said Monona grandparent Barbara Aguilera.

A new Monona law suggests one root of the problem is parents. They could be slapped with a $114 ticket if their child is bullying another.

"I feel bad for the parents who will get ticketed," said Monona parent, Kristin Attaway. "But I think at the same time if that's the only way to stop it that's the only way to do it."

"When they're little, they have none of those prejudges or preconceived notions that someone's weird or different than them. It's definitely taught in the home," said Aguilera.

But it's not just parents who are blamed. The bully can be cited as well, anyone as young as 12-years-old.

"You could have a teen bullying someone and they could be subject to prosecution too," said Monona police chief Walter Ostrenga.

But the problem extends beyond the school system.

"There's no age limit on this. This could be adults bullying other adults too," said Ostrenga.

Policies against harassment and disorderly conduct were already in place, but this new ordinance also includes bullying through the phone and online.

Police chief Ostrenga hopes no citations have to be written and that this new law gives victims more of a voice.

"Maybe with the threat of someone getting a ticket, it'll stop the bullying," said Ostrenga. "And if you stop the bullying, you can stop the victims from harming themselves or others."

Police chief Ostrenga said this is only law in the state that holds parents responsible.

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Posted Monday, June 3, 2013 --- 10:11 a.m.

MONONA, Wis. (AP) -- Parents of children who bully may be ticketed by police and fined in municipal court under a new local law in Monona.

Police Chief Wally Ostrenga says he expects the ordinance will be used sparingly and only in cases where parents are uncooperative. Ostrenga says sometimes parents don't want to talk to police because they may think their children can do no wrong.

The chief says parents who make a good-faith effort to address their child's behavior would not be ticketed. The State Journal says the first violation of the `parent liability' ordinance carries a $114 fine.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


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