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Florida parents: Would you pay a fine if your child misbehaves?

Bullying is a pervasive problem all across the country. It doesn't just happen in the playground or on the bus, either. Thanks to tools like the Internet and text messaging apps, it's easier than ever for kids to engage in bullying no matter where they are.

Because bullying is such a concern, various parties are attempting to use various tactics to try to put an end to bullying, or at least punish the worst offenders. Some punishments are traditional, like school suspensions. Others are less traditional, like the proposed punishment lawmakers in another state are pursuing. 

Fining parents of bullies

According to reports like this one, lawmakers in Pennsylvania have proposed a bill that would fine parents $500 if their child is involved in multiple bullying incidents. 

Prior to issuing a fine, the schools would give the parents and the offending student opportunities to stop negative behaviors. Schools would inform parents of the first offense. After a second offense, parents would be required to take a bullying class and resolution conference. After the third offense, parents would have to pay $500 or perform community service.

"Reeling in kids' bad behavior"

According to the lawmaker behind the bill, the fines serve as a way to motivate parents to take action to "reel in" their child's behavior. Others support the measures because, as a police chief in another state argues, fining the parents reiterates the message that they are responsible for raising their children.

Why these efforts may not work

Holding a parent accountable for a child's action is nothing new, but the fining approach may not work for at least a couple reasons. First, parents of bullies are often doing everything they can to try to keep their child from treating others poorly already. Secondly, there are situations where a child is mimicking behaviors he or she sees in a parent. Fining parents in either scenario could actually do more to hurt a parent -- and a child -- than help.

It is undoubtedly important to address bullying in schools all across the country, considering such behavior can have traumatic and even fatal repercussions for student victims. However, it remains to be seen if measures like fining parents are effective.

What do you think? Could this approach work in Florida schools?

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