Proposal could put bullies behind bars - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Proposal could put bullies behind bars

Posted:

Young bullies behind bars, is a proposed crackdown too much?

A Michigan lawmaker has proposed a bill that could land both juvenile and adult bullies in jail.

"We have to address the issue of bullying because it has such profound consequences," says Republican Representative Dale Zorn.


This Michigan Representative says enough is enough and wants bullies to face the threat of getting locked up.

"This is some cutting edge legislation that we're working on," says Zorn.


He's proposed the bill is the first of its kind, making bullying a crime.

It would be punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a hefty fine or both.

"It's not my intent or the intent of this bill for kids to end up with a police record the rest of their life for something they may have done that was somewhat silly in high school," says Zorn.


What is his intent is to get them help.  The courts would have the ability to call for a mental health evaluation for the bully.

Bottom line, Zorn says the point is to help kids become better citizens, and in some cases, records could be wiped clean.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz says while he thinks it's a good thing that Zorn's bill is opening up the discussion, he's not sure yet whether it's the right road to take.

He says right now, the bill needs some tweaking.

"I do think right now in the way it's presently written, there are some free-speech challenges so we would be cautious of the use of anything that we thought might be a violation of the first amendment," says Fitz.


Fitz also says he wants to make sure that kids won't be charged for age-old name-calling.

"We want to be careful that we don't make every comment that a kid says subject to criminal charges. We don't want to make our playgrounds filled with little criminals," says Fitz.


But what do parents think?

"As long as we're not overburdening the court system, I think it's something we can definitely explore," says John Bossler, a Michigan dad of four.

Mark Stallworth, Michigan parent of two says, "I think it should be on a case by case basis. For teenagers, I can see it being a crime, but for an elementary age kid, maybe not so."

Fitz says there are already anti-bullying laws on the books.

People can be charged for threatening others by electronic means, for instance texting or emails.

People can be charged for assault and battery if they physically threaten someone.

Zorn doesn't expect a committee to take up the bill until Fall.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Drinking water concerns for Granger and Gilmer Park addressed at a meeting Wednesday

    Drinking water concerns for Granger and Gilmer Park addressed at a meeting Wednesday

    Nitrates, nicotine, deet, and other toxins were discovered in St. Joe County water in December 2013, following a year-long study. Northeast Granger and Gilmer Park on the south side of South Bend are the areas affected by the contamination. The county health department points to septic systems as the cause for the problem. A group of experts met Wednesday night just to lay-out the first steps in cleaning up the drinking water. St. Joe County's Environmental Health Director, Marc Nelson, says ...More >>
    Nitrates, nicotine, deet, and other toxins were discovered in St. Joe County water in December 2013, following a year-long study. Northeast Granger and Gilmer Park on the south side of South Bend are the areas affected by the contamination. The county health department points to septic systems as the cause for the problem. A group of experts met Wednesday night just to lay-out the first steps in cleaning up the drinking water. St. Joe County's Environmental Health Director, Marc Nelson, says ...More >>
  • Councilman Derek Dieter calls for clearer Council policy on medical leave

    Councilman Derek Dieter calls for clearer Council policy on medical leave

    Officials say South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. is midway through his first week on medical leave, but the specifics of why he's out are unclear. He hasn't spoken publicly. Instead, all we have to go on is an email he sent the council president saying he needs to concentrate on his health. His request came a little over a week after his DUI arrest. Councilman Derek Dieter wants the full council to meet and clarify the leave of absence process.More >>
    Officials say South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. is midway through his first week on medical leave, but the specifics of why he's out are unclear. He hasn't spoken publicly. Instead, all we have to go on is an email he sent the council president saying he needs to concentrate on his health. His request came a little over a week after his DUI arrest. Councilman Derek Dieter wants the full council to meet and clarify the leave of absence process.More >>
  • Reviving The Park: A FOX28 Special Report

    Reviving The Park: A FOX28 Special Report

    They call it a labor of love. A big piece of Michiana history, sat vacant for decades. Now, dedicated volunteers are working to bring it back to life.More >>
    They call it a labor of love. A big piece of Michiana history, sat vacant for decades. Now, dedicated volunteers are working to bring it back to life.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.