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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: California Town Criminalizing School Yard Bullying

     Kindergarteners to students 18 years old could soon be charged with a misdemeanor offense in Carson City, California for bullying. The Carson City Council has given initial approval for a new law that would prosecute students who make another person feel "terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested." [So, if a kid looks the wrong way at an overly sensitive, anxious classmate, he could end up wearing handcuffs. Only in California.]

     A final vote on the ordinance will happen on May 20, 2014. The law could go into effect the following month. First-time offenders would be fined $100, a second offense would cost $200, and a third citation would be $300, and could include a misdemeanor charge….

     How police will enforce this law is not clear as infractions and misdemeanors normally have to be witnessed by law enforcement. [This is called the misdemeanor-arrest rule.] Also not clear is why current laws against harassment are not being enforced in bullying cases. [These offenses are not enforced because it's often difficult to establish criminal intent in these cases. And that's the way it should be. The proposed bullying ordinance is sheer idiocy.]

Michael Allen, "Kindergarteners Could Be Charged with Misdemeanor Under Proposed Law," Opposingviews.com, May 9, 2014

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