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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


A New Solution to Thwart Bullies


It seems every school in America is seeking ways to reduce bullies on their campus.

A Wisconsin community has come up with a new way to handle the bullying issue. In Monona, a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, police can give citations—just like traffic tickets—to families whose children torment other kids.

This community has recently adopted an ordinance that allows police to cite the parents of chronic bullies, if they’ve been notified in writing that their child is a perpetrator on their school campus. If the bad behavior continues for 90 days or more, the parents can be fined $114 in a municipal court. According to Julie Hertzog, director of the National Bullying Prevention Center, this is the fist community she’s seen pass such a rule.

“For so long, we were just looking at our schools as being responsible for this, but now we understand that it’s about community working together: it’s the schools, it’s the parents, it’s law enforcement,” says Hertzog.  At the same time, some parents have tried everything to stop their kid from being the bully. (One of most frequently downloaded articles on the website of the National Bullying Prevention Center is called, “What if my child is the bully?”)  In those cases, police won’t write tickets. The officers have been given a lot of discretion on the issue.

But this remains a huge issue. About one third of students in America report they have been the victims of a school bully.

So what do you think? Is it right to punish the parents for a bully? Do the schools just need to do a better job? Should the bullies have to pay for their own crime? Who’s really responsible? Let’s have a conversation.




  1. K Baughman on July 5, 2013 at 8:28 am

    If a student is held accountable (age appropriate) for their actions, wouldn’t that teach them responsibility? Is a parent is held responsible for their child’s actions, than who is really learning the lesson?

  2. kkoehn on July 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I agree that the child needs to be held responsible, AND the parent needs to be involved when actual bullying ocurs. However, I also think the age of the child must be considered. Being an elementary principal, I frequently hear, “My child is being bullied,” when in reality the “bully” just wanted to play with someone else at recess instead of their child or didn’t agree with the game their child wanted to play. I know real bullying ocurs in the upper grades, and it needs to be addressed and dealt with. However, I think as a society parents are sometimes much too quick to use the “bully” word.

    • Juan Carlos García Rex on July 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

      Iam against Bullying, I give conferences at schools to students and parents about to eradicate Bullying, I even wrote a book on this subject, but I totally agree with you, now everybody uses the word “Bully” easily and we run to “control” the situation. Is a thin line, but we need to help our kids (Bullies and victims) to learn how to respond to the situation and don’t do it all for ourselves.

  3. barbl on July 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I believe many times that the ‘bully’ in one situation has been the ‘victim’ in another situation. It is learned behavior. And many times, the ‘bully’ label will also depend on how the ‘victim’ PERCEIVES the situation. What the children who are identified as bullies really need is counseling not fines and/or more adults telling them they are ‘bad’. The adults need to teach them new ways of dealing with others. And the ‘victims’ could benefit from some of the same. I believe if a child has a strong sense of self-worth, then even if they do find themselves in a situation that could be described as ‘bullied’, they will be better equipped to deal with it and not let it effect them as much.
    I have taught my kids to see someone who is acting like a bully, as someone who is crying out for help. And that we, as our ‘brothers’ keepers’, should do what we can to get that person the help they need. This approach also takes away some of the so-called bully’s power and makes them less scary to deal with, as well.
    I agree w/ Juan 110%, we need to help the bullies and the victims learn how to respond to the situation. This is the best way to help them grow into caring, responsible adults.

  4. r ham on July 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    The key word I picked up is “chronic bullies”. At that level it is more than a lashing out or simply not wanting to play with another child. It is bad behavior that needs to be corrected. If the parents are not willing to be parents, then an outside authority must step in. Giving the authority discretion to fine the parents may be the impetus to encourage them to grow up and be responsible adults of their children. As for bullying in general, the term has become diluted. It is a part of growing up to learn that there are bullies in the real world, whether at work or in international leadership. The playground is where we learn to eventually handle the overbearing boss or the Saddam Husseins of the world.

  5. KJMINHB on July 6, 2013 at 8:27 am

    They should still write the bully a citation even if their parents have tried to stop the behavior. It really defeats the purpose…why bother at that point! They should require the child to attend a class on bullying held on 5 Saturday afternoons and have homework to turn in. The homework would teach the child social skills and have social accomplishments signed by parents. If parents cheat for them no one wins and if they get caught for bullying again….say buh bye to more Saturdays at bullyschool!

    • KJMINHB on July 6, 2013 at 8:30 am

      It is as simple as…”Children need consequences for their negative behavior!”

  6. jerry on July 6, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    How times keep changing. When I was in grade school, there was a bully. We kids got together and it stopped. I guess we knew right and wrong. In high school I may have been oblivious to some of it, but the lettermen’s club and again student leaders seemed to be able to step in. There was right and there was wrong.

  7. Bob Kizer on July 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Getting parents involved is always a good idea, but ultimately, we need to take action against bullies directly. Those being bullied need to know they will be honored for speaking up and not ridiculed.

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A New Solution to Thwart Bullies