Letter to the Editor

Anti-bullying ordinance

Sunday, July 21, 2019

I wasn't seeing much to write about of late, until I came across a story in a recent issue of The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune that described that city's anti-bullying ordinance and the accompanying fine structure for the initial and subsequent offenses. The somewhat controversial ordinance calls for fining parents of children who are considered bullies by law enforcement. I guess they have had it with parents who have thrown up their hands in trying to keep their kids from acting stupid, or, maybe certain parents see no reason to use appropriate discipline. Maybe those parents think the schools should hold those who bully accountable. I don't know what some parents think it's beyond me.

A question arises: Is fining parents for the crimes of their children unfair or counterproductive? Or is it appropriate, as parents are legally responsible unless the child is emancipated, and on their own. What think you? Or in the words of the inimitable Karl Malden: "What would you do?" Bullying doesn't seem to be going away, despite the efforts of concerned youth, teachers, and the public in general. One final wrinkle: The $50 fine for the first offense might serve as a deterrent for some. It might be a vehicle for child and parent to get some necessary tasks done that are worth a few bucks here and there. I think it is way better than doing something physical to the perpetrator "to teach them a lesson."

Bill Kersting, Spencer