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PA lawmaker proposes fine, community service for parents of school bullies

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There’s a new push in Pennsylvania to hold parents accountable if their child is being a bully.

Democratic Representative Frank Burns from western Pennsylvania is suggesting parents of school bullies pay fines and possibly do community service.

Burns is taking bullying concerns he’s hearing from Pennsylvania students right to the capitol.

“They were telling me about how they were bullied and it doesn’t stop so I felt other than just the (anti bullying) pledge that I had to do more and that we needed to do something across the state,” said Burns who represents Cambria County.

Burns is proposing a bill to hold everyone accountable when it comes to bullying including students, schools and parents.

In the proposed bill, parents would be told what action the school took after their child’s first bullying incident.

After the second time parents would be required to take a class on bullying.

If a student bullies a third time or more in the same school year, Burns believes parents of bullies should have their day in court, leading to fines up to $500 and possible community service.

Parents in central Pennsylvania have mixed reactions about this proposed bill.

“I think it does come down to parenting and controlling the kids somewhat. Sometimes you can’t control the kids and you can always put them into another school where they can control the kids a little bit more,” said Nichole Houck who supports the idea.

Foster parents Connie and David Craft are not on board with the proposal.

“I think the parents sometimes have a lot on their plate too and I think there should be other services in place for kids that do bully or do have issues or even kids that are being bullied,” said Connie.

Burns’ other two proposed bills would require the Department of Education to establish an anonymous reporting system for bullying.

It would provide real-time data on bullying by requiring schools to track and report incidents to the department’s Office of Safe Schools.

“With the advent of cyberbullying making this problem even more pervasive, we can’t afford to sit back and do nothing. No student should ever have to go to school in fear or shame,” said Burns.

Burns is urging his fellow lawmakers at the capitol to sign onto his legislation.

He plans to introduce the bill in the next two weeks.

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