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New city ordinance lets authorities fine parents of bullies

Parents of students that bully other kids at school can now be held responsible. Authorities can now issue $114 tickets for a first offense of bullying, and up to $177 fines for subsequent offenses. (AP Photo/file)

Should parents be held responsible for their kid’s bad behavior?

A new city ordinance in a Wisconsin town makes it possible for authorities to fine parents if their kid is a repeat bully offender. The Wisconsin State Journal reports parents can be fined $114 for a first offense and up to $177 for subsequent offenses.

KIRO Radio host John Curley thinks its a great policy, and parents should be held responsible because he says bad parents make bad kids, and good parents make good kids.

“I met this kid on Saturday night. I was at this auction,” says Curley. “There’s this great guy […] I go to meet his teenage son. This guy that I know is an unbelievable human being, he would do anything for you, great, great guy and here is a shocker for you: his kid is amazing.”

Curley says kids pick up things from the bully dad that yells and says racist things about the neighbor down the street.

“This is all learned,” he says. “Every parent infects their child with their own prejudices.”

But there might be a caveat to Curley’s case that bad parents make bad kids. He was a bully and he doesn’t really blame his parents for setting a bad example.

He says his bullying was rooted in his unhappiness at school after he was held back twice.

“When I was in eighth grade, I was a huge bully because I was so angry that I was marked as the dumbest kid in school. So I would take out all my anger on people like you,” says Curley addressing co-host Andrew Walsh. “If I found some smart kid like you walking around in his Army hat and his Army jacket, I would go after you. Because it was my way of venting some of this anger I had.”

The only way his parents might have been responsible is that he says they had a sort of laissez-faire attitude about sending their kids out into the world. “There wasn’t a lot of sit down chit chat sort of face-to-face stuff that parents do nowadays.”

Walsh points out parents often just aren’t able to accurately appraise their kids.

“Almost every parent thinks that their kid is an angel,” says Walsh. “It’s not always just bad parents. It’s just parents don’t know what their kids are like.”

Curley and Walsh agree the new policy might at least send a message to parents who may not know the severity of the issue.

“At the very least, you now realize you have a problem with your kid, and if you are a good parent, you can adjust,” says Walsh.

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