Michigan lawmaker wants to make bullying a crime

State bill would make bullying punishable with jail time, fines

Published On: May 28 2013 11:48:10 AM EDT   Updated On: May 28 2013 11:54:10 AM EDT

Anyone caught bullying or cyberbullying could find themselves in jail and slapped with a fine of $1,000.

If State Rep. Dale Zorn's bill is passed into law, it would make bullying a misdemeanor crime punishable with jail time or a fine or both. 

It would also let the courts ask for a mental health evaluation of the convicted person.

"I have met with school administrators, students, parents, prosecutors and judges to create legislation that defines the assault of bullying in schools, the workplace and over the internet," said Zorn, R-Ida.  "The behavior of bullying has become a societal problem that may need to be eradicated through professional counseling."

Under Zorn's bill, house bill 4746, a judge could impose a punishment of up to 93 days in jail or a fine of no more than $1,000 or both.

"This bill is designed to provide, at a judge's discretion, a professional mental health evaluation of the accused that will determine if professional help and treatment is required at the expense of parents or guardians.  The bill is intended to rehabilitate - allowing for the court to expunge the charges after treatment," said Zorn.

Zorn's bill was referred to the house committee on judiciary.

It defines bullying as "engaging in assault or battering of another person or referring to another person while in his or her presence with a derogatory name or label on two or more separate occasions. Bullying is the intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass another person. 'Cyberbullying' is to bully through a computer network, program or system."

Zorn represents the 56th district.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Next Step to End Bullying