GREEN BAY - An area lawmaker wants to fine teachers who fail to report cases of bullying.
Republican Rep. Garey Bies, of Sister Bay, introduced the plan Wednesday, and already there are questions about how the plan would work.
Bullying can happen on the playground or in the classroom. According to state statistics, 23 percent of children in Wisconsin reported being bullied during the 2010 school year.
Rep. Bies is introducing legislation he says will help.
"It gives an incentive, when a child reports that they've been bullied that the person they report to under policy of their school takes some affirmative action," he said in a phone interview with FOX 11.
The proposal calls for a $200 fine for teachers and other staff who fail to report cases of bullying to administrators.
Bies tells FOX 11 the bill will act like an insurance policy.
He says parents have complained to him about bullying in their children's school, and nothing was being done.
Opponents say the proposal will be counterproductive. They say teachers may over identify cases of bullying.
"There's that fine line that we're walking all the time. Whether we're in school, or not, is that, if we have an argument with my friend is that bullying, versus somebody who's very sneaky about bullying, and you know, the teacher never sees it," said Christine Kleiman, CESA 7 Safe and Healthy Schools.
The Department of Public Instruction issued a statewide bullying policy. Many school districts adopted it or created their own.
Bies says changes to those policies may be needed.
"If it is too narrowly defined in that school where they have the issues that aren't addressed. Then maybe the school board needs to re-look at a, take another look at their definition of bullying," said Bies.
"It all has to do with definition, and having consistency. It's a perception type thing, where you might perceive bullying, but I don't perceive it as bullying," said Kleiman.
The proposal is in its early stages.
Bies says he hopes to have a formal version ready for committee in about a week.
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