October 25, 2014

Teachers could face fines for failing to report bullies

Teachers and school officials who ignore complaints about bullying could face stiff fines, under a bill being proposed by a state lawmaker. The legislation from state Representative Gary Bies (R-Sister Bay) would impose a $200 fine on teachers and school district employees who fail to act after they are made aware of bullying behavior targeting a student.

Wisconsin currently has a law in place that requires districts to have a bullying response plan in place. However, Bies argues the current provision does not offer enough incentive for people to act on those complaints. The Sister Bay Republican says he has heard from several residents of his district who argue complaints made about bullies at school have been ignored or not taken seriously.

AUDIO: Rep. Gary Bies (:17)

Bies offered a similar amendment during the original debate on the law in 2009. While it was initially adopted, then-majority Democrats eventually removed the language before it was passed and signed in to law. He says it’s an issue that has remained on his radar since then, and he’s hoping to get the reporting requirement passed this session.

The legislation is currently awaiting a hearing from an Assembly committee.