Mothers ask Janesville leaders to create bullying ordinance

Published: Jun. 11, 2018 at 10:53 PM CDT
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Two weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl in Janesville took her own life. Elizabeth Jacobsen was bullied, according to her mom, Rebecka Coughlin.

When Bre Martinson and Katie Jones got word about what happened to Jacobsen, they felt the urge to do something. Martinson and Jones say their children have also been bullied in Janesville schools. They took their frustrations and turned them into momentum.

"It's devastating. It's time for change," Jones said.

The mothers created a petition calling on the Janesville City Council to create an ordinance that fines parents if their child is found repetitively bullying others. At the city council meeting on Monday, the mothers took to the podium and explained their reasoning.

"This is not a way to make revenue. It is a tool for the police and the parents," Martinson said.

Martinson explained to the council that if children know their parents could be fined, it could serve as a deterrent to bully others. She says she learned this after conversations with the police chief in Monona. Monona was the first city in the state to create a bullying ordinance.

Elizabeth's mom says she supports the ordinance and thinks that it is a step in the right direction.

"I don't want anyone else to have to feel the pain I do," Coughlin said.


A member of the city council needs to draw up a proposal to pass the ordinance. The mothers say they will be returning back to make sure their voices are continuously heard. The next stop is to visit the Janesville School District meeting on Tuesday.

If you want to sign the petition, it can be found here:

This petition is requesting that Janesville, WI's City Council implement an ordinance against Bullying.
BULLYING - A form of harassment and is defined 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.

After the first incident a written verbal warning would be issued to the parent of the child doing the bullying. The 2nd incident in that school year would fine the parents x amount of money, with a possibility of community service.