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Can Carson prevent bullying by making it a misdemeanor?

by AirTalk®

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Carson Mayor Jim Dear speaks to protestors outside the Shell Oil facility in South Los Angeles. He will address the city council in regards to making bullying a misdemeanor in Carson. Grant Slater/KPCC

The Carson City Council will consider a bill tomorrow night that would make bullying and cyberbullying a misdemeanor.

Authored by Carson Mayor Jim Dear and Councilmember Mike Gipson, the bill seeks to criminalize perpetrators who cause anyone between kindergarten through the age of 25 to "feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested."

The authors told the Los Angeles Times that the measure was conceived after reports of teen suicides caused by bullying came to light. They want to make Carson a "bully-free" city

Carson isn't the only place in the country debating whether to criminalize bullying. A Florida bill that would make bullying punishable offense was approved by a state Senate committee last month, and is scheduled for a vote soon.

Rebecca's Law, named for 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who killed herself last year after being bullied by fellow students, would make in-person and online bullying a misdemeanor that would carry a year-long prison sentence on the second offense.  

Is criminalizing bullying the best solution?



Jim Dear, Mayor of Carson who co-authored the bill. The Carson City Council is considering the bill tomorrow.

Susan Porter, Ph.D, author of “Bully Nation: Why America’s Approach to Childhood Aggression is Bad for Everyone” (Paragon House, 2013); Dean of Students at The Branson School in Ross, California; she has worked in schools for 25 years

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