Kindergarten cop: California kids could face misdemeanor charges over bullying
Young kids could face misdemeanor charges for bullying, according to a new law proposed in southern California.
The legislation in the city of Carson would target anyone from kindergarten age to 25 who makes another person feel "terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested," AP reported.
First-time offenders could be fined $100, while a second infraction would cost $200, and a third-time offense could entail a criminal misdemeanor charge.
Adults who are involved in bullying would be charged with either an infraction or a misdemeanor, which could see them put behind bars.
The law is also set to deal with different forms of cyber-bullying.
It remains unclear how the legislation would be enforced, as infractions and misdemeanors are usually only proven when witnessed by a law enforcement official.
"A fitness hearing would be required to try a child as a criminal," Lieutenant Arthur Escamillas told the local Daily Breeze newspaper.
"But if you see a 4-year-old riding a bike down the street without a helmet, are you going to give a 4-year-old a ticket? It's discretionary," he added.
However, those in favor of the legislation say it would give a signal to the parents that something is wrong.
"If a child is bullying someone, and a parent has to pay a $100 fine as a result of that, a responsible parent will realize their child needs some help," Councilman Mike Gipson said, Reuters reported.