TRENTON, N.J. – “Mallory’s Law” endeavors to honor a 12-year-old (Mallory Grossman) who killed herself in 2017. Bullying was the reported culprit, and the New Jersey legislature wants to do something about it.
The new consequences for offending parents are severe.
The bill (S3433) in question just got out of a Senate committee on Monday. Parents of minors who failed to participate in mandatory cyber bullying training are already subject to be charged with a disorderly offense (which would result in a criminal record); they could now pay elevated fines ranging from $100 for one offense to $500 for subsequent incidents of non-compliance.
Parents could also now face civil liability in the end of a lawsuit.
Are parents actually to blame in most cases? Can fines fix bad parenting? Would a better solution be to allow teachers and schools to exercise more power in disciplining kids in school? Some believe many of the parents most deserving of punishment can either easily pay the fines or can’t pay them all.
An energetic debate is certain to ensue outside of Trenton, but the legislation at issue has bipartisan sponsorship and is likely to be signed by Governor Murphy if it passes both houses of the state legislature.