City Of Carson Set To Criminalize Bullying - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

City Of Carson Set To Criminalize Bullying

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. - Even now, decades after it happened, I can still vividly remember countless times in elementary, junior high and high school when I was bullied. I was also a target of constant bullying in the neighborhood where I grew up. I wasn’t sure
back then what there was about me that made me so easy to pick on. Sometimes the harassment was verbal, other times it took the form of physical violence, but it was always humiliating and hurtful. In retrospect, I realize most kids probably experience some
kind of bullying at one point or another. Occasionally, the perpetrators get what’s coming to them, often they don’t.  But one Southern California city is set to address the issue by criminalizing such behavior, by making it an infraction or a misdemeanor.

The city council of Carson, a suburb of Los Angeles, has voted unanimously to move forward with an anti-bullying ordinance. The measure would make it unlawful for a person to willfully engage in verbal or physical harassment of anyone from kindergarten through age 25. It would also cover so-called cyberbullying. And it would require the parents of a suspected underage bully to attend a juvenile court hearing and hold them partially responsible for the actions of their children. Punishment could range from time behind bars to counseling and therapy. 

But is this the most effective way to deal with what is admittedly a monumental problem that has been ongoing for centuries? Even though the proposed law is based on a similar ordinance in Monona, Wisconsin, it could result in the city of Carson being tied up in enough legal red tape to keep it from being enforced for a very long time, if ever. In fact, there are already grumblings from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California that the measure is simply too vague.  Even the head of a national group dedicated to eliminating bullying believes the proposed law goes too far.  Could you, for instance, be arrested, charged and jailed for calling someone an offensive name? Right now, the answer to that question isn’t clear.

Despite lingering questions and concerns, the city council is set to take a final vote on the ordinance on May 20.
Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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