What’s the story?
The North Tonawanda Common Council unanimously passed a law stating that if a child or teen is caught bullying or attacking another student, their parents will have to pay for their “crimes” by spending up to 15 days in jail, paying $250, or both. The law also applies to children and teens who stay out past curfew.
What led the town to propose such a measure in the first place?
Parents of children getting bullied and attacked by other kids in the area formed a Facebook group called “North Tonawanda Coalition for Safe Schools and Streets,” where the idea was first proposed.
“I think that these teens have figured out that they can get away with this, which is why they’re repeat offenders. But if there’s a tougher law in place it may give them pause,” one mother, Victoria Crago, said.
“I’m all for it,” Superintendent Greg Woytila said. “When you’ve got 3,000-plus students and two or three are out of control, that’s too many. One’s too many. Sometimes the police officers are the only ones trying. The families have given up.”
Is this the first measure of its kind?
Four towns in Wisconsin have similar laws, but USA Today reported that since the laws passed four years ago, no parent has been charged under the law.
Police Chief Daniel Ault of Plover, Wisconsin, one of the towns with a similar law, had a simple statement for parents who feared the government was regulating how to raise their children.
“It’s not us telling you how to raise your children. It’s us telling you, ‘Please raise your children,’” he said.