More than 6,000 deaths per year have been attributed to bullying-related suicides of individuals between the ages of 15-24. In rare cases, the victims are sometimes even in grade school.
Once more and more attention is drawn to the connection between bullying and suicide, the topic becomes a gray area. Too many adults see bullying as “just part of being a kid,” even though there are victims. Bullying is a prevalent problem leading to many negative effects for it’s victims, including: depression, fear, lack of motivation to attend school, and suicide.
One Wisconsin town is trying to curb bullying by holding parents accountable if their child is involved in bullying.
The city council of Shawano passed an ordinance allowing police to intervene when aggression happens. The law applies to anyone under the age of 18 and covers various forms of harassment. The harassment can range from taking lunch money to cyberbullying on social media.
Parents will be warned after the first incident, but if the child’s behavior doesn’t change within 90 days, they’ll be charged with a $366 fine. A repeat offender will be fined $681.
While the majority of parents can agree that bully needs to stop, the new ordinance has raised controversy in Shawano.
Some of the critics have pointed out that there is difference between playful banter and harassment, which can be subjective since children are always teasing each other.
Police Chief Mark Kohl says, “This isn’t generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt.”
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