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Legislation being proposed that would hold parents of school bullies accountable

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania parents could soon be held accountable for the actions of their school-aged son and/or daughter.

The focus: parents of school bullies.

Under legislation being proposed by state Rep. Frank Burns, schools would notify parents each time their child bullies another child.

After the first incident, parents would be told what action the school took, according to a release sent from the House Democratic Communications Office. The second offense would require parents to take a parenting class on bullying and would be asked to attend a bullying resolution conference. A third bullying incident reported by the school would result in parents receiving a court citation and the up to $500 fine and/or community service that goes with it, the release adds.

“Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in any meaningful way,” Rep. Burns said. “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.”

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

The second and third bill in the Cambria Democrat’s package would require “the Department of Education to establish an anonymous reporting system for bullying, and would provide for accurate, real-time data on bullying by requiring schools to track and report incidents to the department’s Office of Safe Schools.”