A bully learns nothing from making parent pay (Opinion)
Some NJ lawmakers are pushing for "Mallory's Law", named after Mallory Grossman, a 12-year-old who committed suicide 2 years ago after being routinely bullied.
Among other things, this bill could punish parents for the bullying their children do. Part of the bill states "civil liability may be imposed on a parent or guardian, having legal custody of the minor, who demonstrates a willful or wanton disregard in the exercise of the supervision and control of a minor adjudicated delinquent of cyber-harassment or harassment."
In other words, parents pay a financial penalty for the actions of their children. Basically a bullying fine.
While well intended, this is just more condoning of blame-sharing in our society. It's never the drunk's fault; blame the bartender. It's never the criminal's fault; blame the socio-economic disadvantage. In this case it's never the bully's fault; blame the bad parents.
While many bullies certainly were raised by lousy parents, all this bill accomplishes is telling the bully it isn't their fault. Sorry, but whatever bad breaks you get in life you better suffer some consequences if you don't rise above them. If you put the fine directly in the kid's name I'd have no problem with it even if the money ultimately came from the parents. Hopefully they'd make the kid work it off and it would also send a better message to the jerk who's harassing kids. Further, not every time a kid goes bad are there bad parents behind it. Some kids have great parents and there's just something behaviorally wrong with the child. For us to set up a new court system or school hearing system trying to ascertain what type of parent mom and dad have been for the past 12 years is top-heavy and flawed.
Take bullying seriously? Yes. Fine the parents? No.