Most children grow up looking up to someone, wanting to be someone they deem to be the person they want to be when they grow up. Parents can have a massive influence on how their children will turn out to be.
Parents should be responsible in raising, taking care of, guiding, and disciplining their children, and the city of North Tonawanda in New York took this belief to heart and aimed to use it against one of the biggest challenges the youth is facing today — bullying.
North Tonawanda city passed a law in October 2017 wherein the parents of a child bullying others could be sentenced to 15 days in prison, fined $250, or both.
This law was passed following the efforts of a local group led by Victoria Crago, a mother whose son was a victim of bullying. Victoria and other mothers collaborated to form a Facebook group called ‘North Tonawanda Coalition for Safe Schools and Streets.’ The mother said that “I think that these teens have figured out that they can get away with this, which is why they’re repeat offenders.”
Bullying isn’t only the offense that could send parents to jail. Breaking the curfew as well as being hosts of parties that have illegal activities could also be grounds for jailtime for parents.
The City of North Tonawanda isn’t the first city to pass a law punishing the parents of bullies. In 2016, a city in Wisconsin, Shawano, actually passed a law for anti-bullying where parents of a bully would have to pay fines amounting to $366 for the first offense; and, if the child was found guilty of bullying again within the same year as the first offense, their parents have to pay a fine of $681.
Although, since the law was passed in Shawano City, no parent was charged for their children being bullies, according to USA Today.
The members of North Tonawanda Common Council are hoping that the anti-bullying law would end cases of bullying if parents would be held liable for their children bullying others.
Unsurprisingly, the law has garnered mixed reactions from many people. Some are against it, saying it’s not fair for parents to be punished for their children’s wrongdoings, arguing that even some of the best parents are possible to have bullies as children — and that sometimes, parents have nothing to do with it.
On the other hand, some people found the law to be a brilliant one, seeing a real potential for it to finally end the problem with bullying:
Bullying is one of the biggest issues children of today are dealing with. Bullying can lead to a lifetime of insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of confidence in bullied children. In worst cases, bullying can to suicide.
Whether or not people are supporting this law, the citizens of North Tonawanda have to abide by it as no one is above the law. And, if you really think about it, it wouldn’t hurt to exert an extra effort in making sure your child understands one of the basics of humanity: don’t hurt others — physically, verbally, or emotionally.
They say that the parent is the child’s first teacher. Maybe, in imposing this law, parents will work twice as hard too, to be better teachers and better models for their children.