Wisconsin Town to Fine Parents of Bullies

June 17, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. eradicate / ɪˈræd ɪˌkeɪt / (v.) – to completely remove or eliminate something bad
Example: The school is working hard to eradicate discrimination within its grounds.

2. penalize / ˈpin lˌaɪz / (v.) – to punish
Example: Some students were penalized for habitually coming to school late.

3. notify / ˈnoʊ təˌfaɪ / (v.) – to inform or warn about something
Example: The school notified the parents about their child’s suspension.

4. upbringing / ˈʌpˌbrɪŋ ɪŋ / (n.) – the way a person is raised as a child
Example: She is well-disciplined because of her strict upbringing.

5. weigh down / ˈweɪˈdaʊn / (phrasal v.) – to be a burden to
Example: High costs of education weigh down families without sufficient finances.


Read the text below.
A new ordinance passed in one of the cities of US State Wisconsin [wis-KAHN-suhn] now fines parents whose children repeatedly bully other kids.

The Shawano [SHAW-no] City Council of Wisconsin passed a new ordinance in early May in an attempt to eradicate bullying among schoolchildren in their city. The ordinance would cover all schoolchildren below 18 years old. It will penalize different forms of bullying, including verbal abuse, physical assault, and even cyberbullying.

Under the new anti-bullying ordinance, parents would be notified if it is proven that their children bullied other kids. Parents will be given 90 days to correct their children’s behavior. If the child becomes involved in a bullying incident again within that period, parents would be fined $366. A second offense would be fined an additional $681.

The ordinance is not a first in the said US State, as two Wisconsin cities have enacted similar ordinances in the past. Fines for parents of children involved in bullying were first imposed in the city of Monona in 2013. The village of Plover followed suit in 2015.

The ordinance was passed on the rationale that children’s upbringing would affect how they would treat the people around them, which means that parents are expected to teach their children how to behave properly. The ordinance is also expected to make parents more aware of how their children act towards others.

However, clinical psychologist Steven Myers said in an interview that anti-bullying ordinances need to be studied more carefully before being implemented. Other critics say that the effectiveness of holding parents accountable for their children’s behavior still has to be proven, and that the laws may weigh down families struggling with their finances.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that the ordinance would be effective in eradicating bullying? Why or why not?
·         In what other ways can bullying in schools be addressed? Discuss.

Discussion B

·         Do you agree that upbringing shapes a child’s behavior? Explain.
·         In what ways can parents help their children change their bad behavior towards others?

June 17, 2016