In one New York town, simply being the parent of a bully could get you in major trouble. Because of a new city law in North Tonawanda, NY, just outside of Buffalo, parents of children who bully other children may have to pay a fine and/or go to jail, making them legally responsible for their kid's actions, Scary Mommy reports.
Under the ordinance, which took effect on October 1, parents of bullies may have to pay $250 in addition to or instead of spending 15 days in jail if their child violates the city's curfew or any other city law, including bullying, twice in a 90-day period, according to the Washington Post.
The law was unanimously passed by members of the city council, in hopes that it will end bullying by making parents accountable for their child's actions. According to the Washington Post, North Tonawanda officials say the law is geared toward bullies who are repeat offenders and bully other children in public places.
“We want the message out there that we’re serious about this. We don’t want anyone to be afraid to be in our city, or walk the streets or go to school,” North Tonawanda Mayor Art Pappas told WIVB4 News in an interview.
For parents of kids who have been bullied, the law may come as a relief. Victoria Crago, whose son was attacked by classmates off school grounds in June, tells WIVB4, "We didn't feel like maybe anything was being done, and all of a sudden, I heard about this ordinance that's going through. So it was shocking and welcome. These teens have figured out they can get away with this, but if there's a tougher law in place, that may give them pause."
According to the Washington Post, the law comes after four teens were expelled from North Tonawanda Middle School for alleged bullying.
This isn't the first time a town in the U.S. has gotten the law involved in order to end bullying. Back in 2013, police officers in Monona, WI, began ticketing parents of chronic bullies, and if a child's bad behavior repeated, parents would have to pay a fine of $114.