Government Law

Parents with bullying kids can be ticketed in this town

A town near Madison, Wis., is fighting child bullies by holding their parents responsible.

The town of Monona passed an ordinance (PDF) last month imposing a $114 municipal fine on parents who allow bullying or harassing behavior by a minor child. The law creates a rebuttable presumption of a violation if the parents received prior written notice of a bullying incident by the child within the prior 90 days. Publications covering the action include Today Moms, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Wisconsin State Journal.

Monona police chief Walter Ostrenga says parents who are trying to curb bullying children won’t be ticketed. “There’s a lot of discretion here,” he told Today Moms. “If we go to someone’s house and the parents are just at wit’s end, they don’t know what to do, they’ve tried everything, it’s just not working—we’re not going to write those people tickets.” He also said the ordinance will cover cyberbullying.

City Attorney William Cole told the Wisconsin State Journal that the ordinance is “a tool of last resort” and he believes it would be upheld in court.

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