Melania Trump announced last year that her campaign as First Lady is ending bullying. While we aren’t quite sure what she’s accomplished championing that problem, one lawmaker has taken a firm stand. Pennsylvania State Rep. Frank Burns (D-Cambria) has proposed an anti-bullying bill that has been guided by the three-strikes-you’re-out rule. The bill largely targets parents – not the actual bully.
Under his proposed bill, the first time a child is caught bullying, the school would be required to notify the parents of how the situation was handled. For the second offense, the parents would have to take a bullying class and attend a bullying resolution conference. The third time, the parents would receive a court citation and have to pay a fine of up to $500 along with possible community service.
On the subject of bullying, Burns stated,
If holding parents accountable is what it takes to reel in their kids’ bad behavior, then let’s do it. With the advent of cyberbullying making this problem even more pervasive, we can’t afford to sit back and do nothing. No student should ever have to go to school in fear or shame.
At what point does the student take responsibility for his or her own actions? Arguably, we can blame parents all we want, but in end, it’s still on the bully.
What happens when the parents are unable to pay the fine? Do they go to jail for a night or two? What if the bully’s parent is a single parent? Do you see where we’re going here? This is ridiculous.
The flaw in logic is extraordinary. The man wants to punish bullies by punishing their parents. If the idea is that the kid is a bully because they aren’t receiving guidance at home, why would the state perpetuate the lack of any real discipline? Furthermore, if a bully knows they have no consequences, there is no incentive to stop.
Burns has done some good things as a representative, but he is off the mark on this proposed bill.