Mixed reviews on making a new anti-bullying law - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mixed reviews on making a new anti-bullying law

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

People nationwide are praising and criticizing the new change in Monona, Wisconsin: a first of its kind law that makes it a crime for people to bully others.

Police can now charge bullies fines ranging from $114 to $200 for such an offense. About 79 percent of the News Leader 9 viewers praised Monona's new law and said that Georgia and Alabama need to implement similar laws, while 21 percent of the viewers criticized the law and questioned its effect.

Maureen Tillman, a teacher from Midland Academy school in Columbus, Georgia, said bullying should be stopped. She has seen some of her classmates bully one another in the past, and Tillman believes such behaviors are detrimental to people's mental and physical health.

"However, I do not think that implementing a new anti-bullying law in Georgia and Alabama will make a great difference," Tillman explained. "We have zero tolerance policies in Georgia, and this rule was made to fight against bullying and other violent behaviors. However, it has not completely stopped bullying in our schools, so maybe what we need is not a new law. Perhaps we just need to have teachers, parents, administration and students just sit down and figure something out."

Dr. Kevin Weis, a child psychologist in Columbus also agreed to say that having a new law might fail to make a big difference.

"We all have some rules and laws in our society to guide us. Unfortunately, people do not abide by the rules all the time," Dr. Weis said.  "For instance, we have rules to discourage underage drinking, but this issue occurs all the time. So, it is not about making laws and rules to stop issues.  It is about responding to problems by communicating and understanding one another."

Some non-experimental studies show that zero tolerance policies do not actually improve school safety or stop school bullying in the past. Thus, Dr. Weis believes that the first step people need to take in order to fight bullies is to sit down and communicate with them.

"It is important for people to understand why a bully bullies," Dr. Weis explained. "Often times, bullies do not realize the pain they cause unto other people. Also, punishing the bullies do not help all the time, since punishment mirrors the bullies' actions. It is important to praise good behavior, while helping bullies understand why bad behaviors are unacceptable."

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