CA City Seeks To Become "Bully-Free" Through New Law

By a unanimous vote, Carson's city council agreed to send for final approval a measure that would make bullying of children and young adults -- up to age 25 -- a misdemeanor.

What's the Latest Development?

Councilmen in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson have decided to do something decisive about bullying: By a unanimous 5-0 vote, they have agreed to move forward with a measure that could make bullying of anyone between the ages of five and 25 a misdemeanor. Sheriff's deputies would be responsible for enforcing it, and if the accused is a minor, their parent would have to attend a juvenile court hearing. It's not clear how much time an offender could spend in jail, but the measure includes provisions for counseling and therapy. It will come back for a final vote on May 20.

What's the Big Idea?

Carson could become one of the first cities in the country to tackle the problem of bullying using a law. In fact, its text resembles that used for an anti-bullying ordinance passed last summer in Monona, WI, in which parents of bullies are fined. Mayor Jim Dear stands behind Carson's measure: "[W]e're talking about intervening in both the bully's life, who is a person who is hurting too, and the victim's life." However, he expects it to be challenged in court, and one of its critics is American Civil Liberties Union attorney Brendan Hamme, who says the proposed law is too vague.

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