Many of us grew up in a time where bullying was still treated as a “teehee, kids will be kids” sort of offense. I remember addressing my own bullying with teachers and the principal, who took the general stance of, “We didn’t see it, so we can’t do anything about it.” Talking to the offenders was apparently out of the question; monitoring the playground, cafeteria and other areas more was apparently out of the question. I’m glad to see that times have changed. I had too many classmates kill themselves after enduring months or years of daily torment.
Fining is one thing; however, I agree with some of the others that this should be taken a step further. It doesn’t fully address the motivation for bullying. We know that there are many risk factors: abuse of any kind, emotionally distant parents, permissive parents, to protect a higher status, to build up status (if they’re at risk of being bullied) and so on.
For that reason, I do think that the family counseling sessions are an excellent idea, perhaps being required to meet with school staff (including counselors), etc. Rather than putting the money toward a fine, it could go toward those interventions instead (so, parents would still be paying for it). This could also be an additional way for authorities to look for signs of abuse, and to get bullies out of situations that may have turned them into…well, bullies.
It is scary that there’s such a strong, “My baby is an angel, how dare you say he did anything wrong,” mentality among some parents. It seemed to become more prevalent when my parents were raising kids (my parents were older, so it was more of a problem with my classmates’ parents, who tended to be 10 – 15 years younger). It seems much more common with Gen X parents, and I won’t be shocked if it continues with Gen Y parents.
Kids are completely out of control in the school environment. As an adult, we would either file a complaint to HR, or at least we’d have the power to quit/change jobs. As a kid, unless your parents switch schools, you are stuck with it. I still don’t understand how we could, as a culture, allow such nonsense to carry on with “teehees” for generations, while we’d never accept anywhere near the same treatment in the workplace.