Wisconsin town could tackle bullies by fining their parents

Wisconsin town proposes law to fine parents of bullies

SUN PRAIRIE, WI (WISC/CNN) - Parents in Wisconsin say they want a way to hold other parents accountable if their children are bullies.

Officials in the city of Sun Prairie are proposing a law change aiming to do just that, in the form of tickets that would fine parents of bullies anywhere from $50 to $1,000.

Sun Prairie Alder Maureen Combie is proposing a city-wide anti-bullying ordinance, modeled after a law nearby Monona enacted in 2013.

"It's basically just another tool in the tool box,” Combie said.

The ordinance covers all types of harassment. That includes bullying that is verbal, physical or even electronic.

"The one thing that people have a concern about is the fact that they are going to be issuing tickets,” Combie said.

Parents in support of the proposal acknowledged that it's not necessarily the punishment that's important, but the conversation that comes with it.

"Although it's really scary to be the parent of a bullied child, we were able to stop it quickly,” said Rogette Koby, whose 12-year-old daughter was bullied a group of schools at her middle school. “There's other families that aren't so lucky."

She hopes the proposed ordinance, and talking frankly about bullying issues, could prevent another family from going through what hers went through.

"The school district can't mandate that the parents come to the table but law enforcement can,” she said. “And when they do that, the parents are mandated to get involved."

A spokesperson said the Sun Prairie Area School District hasn't taken a stance on the ordinance yet. But there are many programs in place to prevent bullying.

The proposal will be brought up in the city's Youth and Family Commission next Thursday.

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