Suburban Buffalo law punishes parents to help prevent bullying

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Parents in a Buffalo suburb could end up behind bars if their child is found bullying others. 

The North Tonawanda Common Council hopes the new law will help end bullying by holding parents accountable for their children’s actions.

If a child is caught bullying, or attacking another student, their parent will pay the fine or do the time, according to a law unanimously passed by the North Tonawanda Common Council last week.

The parent could spend up to 15 days in jail, pay $250, or both.

“We didn’t feel like maybe anything was being done and then all of a sudden I heard about this ordinance going through so it was shocking and welcomed,” said Victoria Crago.

Victoria Crago’s son was attacked by his classmates in June. It happened off school grounds, but it pushed Crago to do something. She says she found out other parents had complained of violence at North Tonawanda middle school too.

It led parents to start a Facebook group called ‘North Tonawanda Coalition for Safe Schools and Streets.’ She hopes this new law will help prevent other kids from getting hurt.

“I think that these teens have figured out that they can get away with this which is why they’re repeat offenders. But if there’s a tougher law in place it may give them pause,” said Crago.

“We want the message out there that we’re serious about this. We don’t want anyone to be afraid to be in our city, or walk the streets or go to school,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Art Pappas.

Mayor Art Pappas says the city isn’t trying to focus on punishment but more so prevention and he says it’s geared towards repeat offenders.

“I think it’s going to get a message out there. That certain parents who haven’t now have to take some responsibility for their children,” said Pappas.

The law also holds parents more accountable if a child stays out after the city’s curfew.

This post originally appeared on WIVB.com

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