A Pennsylvania state lawmaker is planning to propose a bill ordering parents to pay a fine of up to $500 if their child is a habitual bully.
The legislation — which state Rep. Frank Burns (D) plans to propose — would require that school officials take action the first time a child bullies someone, The Washington Post reported.
If a child bullies someone a second time, parents would be required to take a parenting class.
Parents would have to pay a fine of up to $500 and/or take part in community service if their child continues to bully others.
“Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in a meaningful way. When it’s not addressed, bullying can escalate quickly from taunts and hurtful online posts to physical assaults and — in worst cases — suicide,” Burns said in a statement.
“Holding students, parents and officials at all levels accountable is the only way to put an end to this scourge”
Burns has said he also plans to propose other pieces of legislation regarding bullying.
The other proposals would demand that schools report all bullying incidents and would implement the formation of a system that would let people anonymously report bullying.
A 2011 survey from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that about 28 percent of the students surveyed said they had been bullied.
Burns said no student should ever have to go to school “in fear or shame.”
“If holding parents accountable is what it takes to reel in their kids’ bad behavior, then let’s do it,” he said.
Just last month, the Florida state legislature weighed a proposal that would allow children who have been bullied to receive a state-funded voucher to attend private school. A version of that bill was signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Sunday.
The grants — called Hope Scholarships — would give some children who say they have been bullied a $6,800 voucher to go to private school, The Associated Press reported.
The scholarships would not be based on income.