California city considering law that would charge bullies – as young as 5 – with a misdemeanor
CARSON, Calif. – Leaders of a Southern California city are considering an ordinance that would make bullying a misdemeanor offense, even for children as young as 5 years old.
From the Daily Breeze:
The (Carson City Council’s proposed) ordinance would target anyone from the ages of 5 to 18 who makes another person feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested (in a way that) serves no legitimate purpose.”
First-time offenders could be ticketed for an infraction and fined $100. For a second offense, another infraction ticket would be issued but with a $200 fine. Third-time offenders could face a criminal misdemeanor charge. Adults who bully would be charged with either an infraction or a misdemeanor, which could come with jail time.
Councilman Mike Gipson said the fines are meant as a way of getting parents of young bullies to “realize their child needs some help.”
Officials of the 93,000-person city “want to make it clear to bullies that the behavior – whether it’s physical, sexual, online or verbal in nature – won’t be tolerated, no matter the age,” the Daily Breeze reports.
Just how police would enforce the potential law remains very hazy. As the Associated Press reports, the Sheriff’s Department rarely hands out infractions and misdemeanors “unless the crime is witnessed by a law enforcement officer.”
Carson sheriff’s Lt. Arthur Escamillas added that a child would have to undergo a fitness hearing before being tried as a criminal.
The city council is expected to vote on the proposed law next Tuesday. If it’s approved, the ordinance will take effect in mid-June.
Just a little something to keep in mind as you plan your summer vacation.
Authored by Ben Velderman