A town in Wisconsin has a novel way to deal with bullying: bill the parents.
Under a new ordinance, police will notify parents in writing of a bullying incident involving their kids. If a further incident occurs within 90 days of the initial notice, police will then fine parents. With court costs, the bill could run up to $124.
A similar measure was passed in another Wisconsin town. Instead of placing the onus on schools to deal with bullying incidents, parents are held accountable for the actions of their children. And what better way to get parents' attention than to hit them where it hurts most: their wallets.
It's an interesting strategy, but I would argue, a misguided one.
Of course parents play a crucial role, and they need to work in tandem with schools to address bullying. But financial penalties aren't the answer.
Assuming you can just slap a fine on a parent and the bullying will magically go away grossly oversimplifies the complexities of the situation.
And it does nothing to get at the root behavioural causes that drive one child (or several) to target another. A fine does nothing, in fact, to help any of the children involved. All it does is punish mom and dad, and perpetuate the notion that bullying is somehow a reflection of a parent's abilities.
Well, having a child who is aggressive or a "bully" isn't a sure sign that the parents are to blame. Neither is it a given that they lack the tools to positively discipline their children (and for those who do, levying a fine won't improve their parenting skills).
While it seems like another step closer to the nanny state, UK Prime Minister David Cameron's idea of introducing mandatory parenting "classes" is probably a more intelligent strategy to combat bullying and other behavioural issues.
Cameron at least seems to understand that what today's parents need is more support, not yet more judgment.
As if it's not hard enough being a girl in the thralls of puberty - what with media pressures to look a certain way - teenage girls in Newfoundland and Labrador are being ranked on an online "ugly" list.
The school district is currently investigating six separate polls in which girls are rated according to their appearance.
One incident in Torbay made headlines after grade 12 student Lynette Cantrell wrote this amazing retort on Facebook to shame her shamers:
Unfortunately people, in Cantrell's words, "whose life is so miserable that you have to try to bring others down" have always existed. They existed 20 years ago, and they always will. But in the past, such lists were confined to a scribbled bit of lined paper passed from hand to hand, from one desk to another. Such lists rarely got much traction, because they rarely circulated widely.
Due to the nature of the Internet, such harassment can attract more attention and spread quickly.
It is also, as the director of education Jeff Thompson and the RCMP have discovered, harder to pin down and track.
"These are very disturbing acts and they're complex to deal with," said Thompson.
Despite having an Internet and social media safety committee in place for the past two years, the district has not prevented such incidence from occurring.
In the meantime, the likes of Cantrell have proven that true beauty and wisdom runs deep. Hope she's having the last laugh, with a viral Facebook post under her belt.
"Just because we don't look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly. If thats [sic] your idea of ugly then i feel sorry for you. Like seriously? Get a life."
Get a life, indeed.
Health Canada has recalled Mirari Wee Keys® activity toy rattle with plastic keys with the following UPC code: 0-93514-07943-3.
The plastic keys may become lodged in a child's throat, posing a choking or suffocation hazard.
While neither Health Canada nor Outset Media has received any reports of incidents relating to the toys, customers are advised to remove the rattles from children immediately and contact Outset Media for a refund or replacement.
For more information, customers can contact Outset Media toll-free at 1-877-592-7374 Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PST.
From August 2013 to December 2015, approximately 4,543 of the rattles were sold at various toy stores across Canada.