SARASOTA, Fla. -- An estimated 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year. One town in Wisconsin has a solution, hold a bully’s parents accountable and fine them for their child’s behavior.
“The solution isn’t simple,” says psychologist Eddie Regnier.
He says he sees bullying victims daily and weekly. “It’s terrible.”
Especially when the victims take their own lives like Brandy Vela, an 18-year-old Texas teenager who shot herself last week. In 2013, closer to home, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick from Polk County committed suicide. Both girls were cyber-bullied.
We "can’t sit and hear about these tragedies and stick our heads in the sand.”
But is fining a parent for their child’s bulling behavior going to work?
“A troubled parent is likely not to respond favorably. Fining them makes them angrier than find a solution,” says Regnier.
The town of Shawano, Wis., has passed an ordinance. Parents of a bully are given a warning, then have 30 days to correct their child’s behavior. If not, the parent is fined $366, and $681 if their child bullies again.
“I applaud their attempt to do something. I don’t think by itself is enough,” says Regnier.
He suggests "a fine plus a requirement a child gets evaluated, the person who offended gets evaluated.”
But not all parents know how to parent.
“You would and expect that, unfortunately people who have trouble don’t have skills to be an effective parent,” says Regnier.
How much is bullying connected to home life?
"Bullying is a complicated behavior many causes," Regnier says. "One child’s is angry things not good at home.”
Regnier has other solutions for bullying
“The schools should take a bigger role, not simply wash their hands because it happened before or after school. Social media groups need to do something, respond quicker (and) take offending people off their sites.”
Regnier says there is hope.
“If we work together educate parents maybe efforts of many groups find a solution.”
In other bullying statistics, 160,000 students skip school each day because of bullying, and 1one out of 10 students drop out of school, according to DoSomething.org.