Legislation proposed to criminalize bullying
Bullying could lead to jail time or a major fine in Michigan under legislation introduced Tuesday.
State Representative Dale Zorn says bullying someone, including cyber-bullying or calling someone a derogatory name, would be a criminal offense on a second occasion.
Under the bill, those convicted of bullying could go to jail for up to 93 days or pay a fine of one thousand dollars.
Zorn would also like to make mental health counseling part of the sentence.
"What I'd like to accomplish with this is to get the offender into the court system, not because I want them to have a police record, but because I'd like to get these kids professional help," he said.
The bill focuses on rehabilitation of those found guilty of bullying and allows the court to expunge the charges after the sentence has been served.
"For me the importance of this is helping these kids work through any anger management that they may have that could lead to even more dangerous issues."
Zorn says that bullying has become a social and cultural problem plaguing schools, the workplace and the Internet. The Monroe County Republican hopes the bill will eradicate bullying in Michigan.
-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom