It is rare to turn the television on these days without some report of a child who has been bullied, injured or found guilty of carrying a weapon into the classroom to protect themselves from a bully. As these children grow up in an environment of torture, we must ask ourselves a few questions. First to mind is the question about Bullying Law: Should bullying be a criminal offense and how should it be punished? This has become a slippery slope in many school districts and state legislation in recent years.
Bullying Law: Should Bullying Be A Criminal Offense And How Should It Be Punished?
We can reach into the recesses of our minds to our own childhood and recall the many movies and television shows that featured a child being bullied by another kid over their lunch money, snack or a route they took on their way home from school. While humorous at the time of viewing, as a parent we are now faced with the reality that our own children may be suffering those same types of bullying, or worse. While the days of a bully taking your lunch money may seem comical, reality is the violence of bullies today brings about the topic of bullying law. Should our children be faced with criminal charges for picking on the other kids in their classroom?
Many who are against bullying law will choose to point out that many kids feel like they are being bullied when in fact it is a simple “right of passage” as a child to be teased on occasion by ones peers. These same individuals will say that children need to grow a thick skin and accept that not everyone will approve of their appearance, their personality or their choices. While those things may be true, it does not give another child the right to pick on someone who is different.
Other parents will say that all children who are bullies should be punished severely no matter how they are a bully. Yet this leaves the conundrum of a child who goes along with the crowd and calls someone a name being punished for a one time offense. Bullying law is not something that is simple. This is not a black and white situation. Unfortunately there are many gray areas that should be considered.
How to punish a child who is guilty of bullying is as individual as the crime itself. Just like there are many types of criminal offenses we deal with daily in our court system, there are different types of bullying to be dealt with. In regards to bullying law we must consider not only the physical violence involved, but the psychological damage done. As we look at our current domestic violence laws, we find that it is rare to see a man or woman charged with verbal or emotional abuse in our courts of law. Looking for examples of appropriate punishments for psychological bullying in our current judicial system may leave us without help or appropriate suggestions.
In answer to our query, it is a difficult decision to make. You can not simply mandate that every instance of bullying should be charged criminally, yet where is the line drawn? At what point do we, as parents demand that our children be protected by bullying law? At what point do we as parents demand that the children and adults who damage our children’s self esteem, emotional stability and more be punished by law?
Looking for more information on bullying law? Check out our thoughts on bullying bills and how well they work.