Lawmaker wants to fine parents of school bullies up to $500

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to fine parents and require them to perform community service if their children get caught bullying others at school.

State Rep. Frank Burns’ proposed bill gives parents three strikes. The first time a child is caught bullying someone, the school would be required to notify the parents of how the school handled the situation. For the second offense, the parents would have to take a bullying class and attend a bullying resolution conference. The third time, the parents would receive a court citation and have to pay a fine of up to $500 along with the possibility of performing community service.

“Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in any meaningful way,” Burns said in a statement on his website. “When it’s not addressed, bullying can escalate quickly from taunts and hurtful online posts to physical assaults and—in worst cases—suicide. Holding students, parents and officials at all levels accountable is the only way to put an end to this scourge.”

“If holding parents accountable is what it takes to reel in their kids’ bad behavior, then let’s do it,” Burns said. “With the advent of cyberbullying making this problem even more pervasive, we can’t afford to sit back and do nothing. No student should ever have to go to school in fear or shame.”

Burns has also proposed requiring the Department of Education to establish an anonymous reporting system for bullying. He also wants schools to track and report incidents to the department’s Office of Safe Schools.