A vote on a measure that would have slapped parents in Racine, Wisconsin with a fine if their child is caught bullying was delayed Wednesday night.
The Racine common council was set to vote on the ordinance, but some aldermen worried not enough parents had gotten the chance to speak out. A public hearing is now scheduled for January 17, the next common council meeting.
Alderwoman Tracey Larrin introduced the measure because she said even though Racine schools have a policy, the city does not. This helps to bridge that gap that schools cannot enforce.
“Before it was bullying at school, you could go home and you were safe. You aren’t safe at home because of electronic messaging,” Larrin said.
According to the policy, if a child is caught bullying and gets a written warning from police they have 90 days to change their behavior.
If they don’t, their parents can be fined up to a $1,000.
“That also might let the parent know the child is bullying. The parent might not know that,” Larrin said.
Alex Upendo, an 11-year old, was one of the driving forces behind the ordinance. He spoke out last month when the ordinance was introduced saying he was bullied.
“People need to be held accountable for their actions. They need to know that words hurt,” Upendo said.
Larrin says even if no tickets are ever issued that’s ok.
“If it opens conversations it is a win,” Larrin said.
The aldermen hopes parents attend the public hearing so they can get input from them on the measure.