Anti-bullying law - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Anti-bullying law

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Childhood is tough. Mean classmates and "big bullies" have been around for generations, but according to psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini, a consistently growing cyber space has intensified the problem.

Bad behavior doesn't end on the playground.

"You can contact them on Twitter, on Facebook, so there is no rest from it," Rapini said.

Communities nationwide have tried to fight, or at least control, it for years. Parents have packed into town hall style events. Teenagers have used cyber space to post anti-bullying videos.

But no community has ever done what city leaders in Monona, Wisconsin have put into place. Parents there can now be fined for their child's bullying behavior, and the blogosphere is busy with folks weighing in on the idea. We asked Fox 26 Chris Tritico about the city ordinance that's generating a lot of buzz.

"I don't think it's going to pass constitutional mustard at the end of the day," Tritico said. "Bullying is an intentional act, and we don't hold parents liable for the intentional conduct of their children."

The fine is just over a hundred dollars and increases if the bullying continues. Tritico compares it to a class c misdemeanor, like a traffic ticket, in our state.

Reports say the Wisconsin lawmakers describe it as " a last resort effort."

Rapini calls it an "eye opener."

She calls bullying a learned behavior, a product of a child's home environment, and a predictor of what's to come in future relationships.

"Many times if you have a child who is a bully, you as a parent are actually afraid to confront them," she said. "Bullying doesn't stop in childhood. It will continue. I know a lot of marriages that end due to bullying behavior."

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