New bill could send bullies to jail

House Bill 4746 would make bullying and cyber bullying a crime punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both

A new bill could crack down on bullying by making it a crime.

House Bill 4746 was introduced this week by Rep. Dale Zorn .

Under the bill, bullying and cyber bullying would be punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. The bill would also let the court call for a mental health evaluation of someone convicted of bullying.

â??I have met with school administrators, students, parents, prosecutors and judges to create legislation that defines the assault of bullying in schools, the workplace and over the internet,â?? said Zorn, R-Ida. â??The behavior of bullying has become a societal problem that may need to be eradicated through professional counseling.

Representative Zorn says that bullying can happen in both schools, and the work place, and that the bill targets both child and adult bullying.

"If the bullying is bad enough, they certainly could receive a fine or jail time," said Zorn, R-Ida. "But I believe in some adults that perhaps the courts would find that they need to have some type of anger management counseling. Which could end up getting their counseling and having the charges expunged."

â??This bill is designed to provide, at a judgeâ??s discretion, a professional mental health evaluation of the accused that will determine if professional help and treatment is required at the expense of parents or guardians. The bill is intended to rehabilitate â?? allowing for the court to expunge the charges after treatment.â??

As defined by the bill, bullying is engaging in assault or battering of another person or referring to another person while in his or her presence with a derogatory name or label on two or more separate occasions. Bullying is the intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass another person. â??Cyber bullyingâ?? is to bully through a computer network, program or system.

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