In a surprise, the City Council of Carson, California, rejected an ordinance aimed at making the Los Angeles suburb the nation’s first zero-tolerance place for bullies. The measure would have been the nation’s toughest piece of anti-bullying legislation, but was defeated Tuesday night after sailing through a reading and vote by the full Council earlier this month. The second and final step was viewed to be a formality, after the measure received strong support from Councilmembers in a May 6 preliminary vote.
The ordinance came under fire from several outside groups, including the ACLU and many anti-bullying organizations. Opponents took issue with what they said was vague language and the overly-broad definition of bullying. Anyone from kindergartners through adults age 25 was targeted if they made another person feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested” with no legitimate purpose. First-time offenders would be fined $100 and $200 for a second infraction, while a third offense could bring a criminal misdemeanor charge.
“The biggest issue you deal with is always ‘he said, she said,'” Thomas Rich said. Rich is the cyber safety expert for STOPit, an anti-cyberbullying school program. “As a parent, I know what I teach my kids and I have to provide them with the tools to be a good person.”