Government
11:38 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Bullying Ordinance Puts Onus On Parents

A city council committee has endorsed an ordinance that would outlaw bullying throughout Kansas City, Missouri. As with the city's youth curfew, the onus falls on parents.

The 14 school districts in the city already have policies to protect students from being bullied, as is required by Missouri law.

The problem, says Councilman Scott Taylor, is that school districts' anti-bullying policies are only enforceable on school property. And bullying is not confined to school grounds, especially in the age of the Internet, where online humiliations have even led to suicides.

Taylor says under the ordinance, parents of bullies could face fines of up to $1,000.  Referring to the similarity between the ordinance and one already in effect regarding youth curfews, he told fellow committee members, “This will help get the parents involved in the situation, and we've found in other areas in this committee, when we get parents involved we get results.”

But he added, he hopes no fines ever have to be levied under the new law.  Most offenders' parents could avoid the fine if their kids attend an anti-bullying education diversion program.

With eight council members signed on as sponsors of the ordinance, it could pass even if no other members vote for it.  And when the full council vote is taken in two weeks, the measure is expected to get unanimous approval.

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