Crime & Public Safety

CITIZEN VOICES®

Should parents of bullies face fines or jail time?

Oct 17, 2017

North Tonawanda, a city in New York, recently passed a bill that allows a $250 fine and 15 days of jail time for a parent if their child is caught twice within a 90 day period outside of curfew or violating any city law, which includes bullying. The law is designed to hold parents accountable for the actions of their children. Read more about this issue

"Should New Hampshire parents face a fine and possible jail time if their child bullies another?"

Fines for Parents of Bullies NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 260 participants gave 402 responses.

A total of 87% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 13% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 260 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 402 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said

No: A strong majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 78%, were against fines or jail time for parents of bullying children.

  • “Punish the kids, not the parents. Most parents don't know their kid is a bully in the first place.”
  • “No… What is going to happen to that kid while their parent is in jail and they have no one watching them? Is that going to make the child less likely to bully? It’s only going to escalate the situation.”
  • “No. This whole bullying thing is ridiculous and out of control. Kids get picked on by other kids: always have, always will.”

Yes: A minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 22%, were in favor of fines or jail time for parents of bullying children.

  • “Yes. You are the parent. Control your kid.”
  • “Maybe then parents will deal with their kids instead of ignoring the complaints.”
  • “If the parents are encouraging the bullying and it is an ongoing issue that cannot be nipped in the bud by some counseling and discipline, then yes.”

Other: As noted above, 13% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • Alternatives: “I think the parents should be mandated to attend a course that would teach them how to parent in a way to help their kids, and how not to model bullying at home.”
  • Curriculum: “Perhaps the children should participate in unsupervised sports and play… Kids today do not know how to  play with each other.”
  • Causes of bullying: “If [kids] are bullying another, maybe their home life should be looked at.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Read the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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