Now more than ever, it seems like bullying has spun out of control, and turned into an epidemic that parents, schools, and lawmakers can't seem to control.
While some people view bullying as a part of growing up, those who are aware of its devastating effects disagree.
Approximately 160,000 kids in the U.S. miss school every day because they're terrified of facing their bullies, according to the National Education Association. Unfortunately, the suffering isn't just physical and it doesn't end at school.
Cyberbullying has given bullies the ability to torment their victims even when they're at home. Students that experience bullying are twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies.
Even with policies and organizations trying to do something about it, the situation only seems to worsen.
One lawmaker has had enough, and to put an end to bullying, he has taken matters into his own hands.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Frank Burns's proposition is drastic, so not everyone will like it, but it might be what needs to be done to remedy the situation.
Burns has introduced a legislation that, if passed, will require parents to pay a fine if their child bullies another kid at school.
The Democrat state representative said in a statement that holding school officials, students, as well as parents accountable " is the only way to put an end to this scourge."
"Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in any meaningful way," Burns said. "When it's not addressed, bullying can escalate quickly from taunts and hurtful online posts to physical assaults and—in worst cases—suicide."
How will it work?
According to the bill, parents will be given three strikes.
The first time a child is accused of bullying, the school will notify the parents in writing, including all the steps the school has taken to handle the situation. If it happens again, parents will be required to attend a class on bullying as well as a resolution conference. On the third strike, a court citation will be issued for a fine up to $500.
Although drastic, Burns's idea isn't the first of its kind. In 2016, a city council in Shawano, Wisconsin, passed an ordinance that allows police to fine parents of bullies if their children's aggressiveness gets out of hand.
Similar to the one proposed by Burns, the law applies to harassment of any kind, emotional and physical. Parents will be given a warning after the first incident, but if no changes happen within 90 days, they will get a $366 fine. If the child is a repeated offender, the cost will rise up to $681.
The Wisconsin law was met with a lot of controversy when it was passed because parents were concerned that some people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between playful teasing and harassment.
What do the experts think?
Dr. Steven Meyers, a clinical psychologist, told Huffington Post that there's no guarantee slapping parents with a fine will work.
"Ordinances that fine parents for children's bullying haven't been carefully studied," explained Meyers. "Programs that are effective in curbing bullying are much more comprehensive and ideally are preventative."
However, supporters of the law, including Mark Kohl, chief of the Shawano Police Department, told WLUK that "This isn't generated towards the kids being kids, some playground banter. This is the person that is meticulously using social media or saying things that are vulgar in an attempt to hurt, discredit, and really demean a person."
In addition to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, more and more states are trying to pass similar laws to make schools a bully-free zones.
Do you think giving parents fines is a good idea? Let us know in the comments!