Educators fear a bill that would fine teachers and staff who fail to report bullying could have unintended consequences.
Republican Rep. Garey Bies, of Sister Bay, is circulating the legislation that imposes a $200 fine for failing to report students who bully. Wisconsin Association of School Boards spokesman Dan Rossmiller says he fears the proposal could lead to teachers over-identifying student behavior as bullying because they don't want to risk being fined.
Bies tells the State Journal that parents say teachers aren't doing enough to stop bullying. State Department of Public Instruction policy defines bullying as "deliberate or intentional behavior using words or actions, intended to cause fear, intimidation or harm." It says bullying behavior can be physical, verbal, or indirect, such as spreading rumors, social exclusion, or cyber bullying.