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Carson City anti-bullying ordinance passes: Critics are outraged at the measure

Carson City anti-bullying ordinance passes and the proposal means that the City Council in Carson, California is even closer to making bullying a crime. Critics of the anti-bullying ordinance are outraged because the ordinance would make it a misdemeanor to cause any person between kindergarten age through 25 years old to "feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested," The Los Angeles Times reports.

As explained in Wednesday's report from local KABC 7 TV, although the Carson City anti-bullying ordinance passes, it still has to pass a final vote later on May 20. If the proposal is approved at the second reading, the ordinance would take effect after 30 calendar days.

"We are going to protect not only the kid that is bothered in school, but when you leave school and go home, we're going to protect you as a city," explained Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson, who co-sponsored the law.

Although Carson Mayor Jim Dear is in support of the proposal, he said that those against the measure will most likely challenge it in court. “We’re not talking about putting a 5-year-old in jail, we’re talking about intervening in both the bully’s life, who is a person who is hurting too, and the victim’s life,” Dear said.

When it comes to bullying, there are several kinds of intimidation. Physical bullying includes hitting, pushing, tripping, and other ways to use physical force. Psychological or emotional bullying includes hurtful comments, calling other's names, etc. Social bullying includes things such as excluding or alienating a person from a group, spreading rumors, etc.

The list above is not a comprehensive list and some forms of bullying are more difficult to identify than others. The measure also includes cyberbullying, which is the use of information technology to harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner.

City Council members say the ordinance would better protect groups especially vulnerable to bullying; i.e gay, overweight, disabled, and gifted children. The measure would require parents of suspected bullies to attend a juvenile court hearing, but child offenders would not always face time in custody.

Citing a report from Fox News, Brendan Hamme, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, told Reuters that the ordinance is too vague and does not indicate out how much jail time an offender could potentially face. "Do you want someone to go to jail if they're calling someone a name?" Ellis said.

Although the Carson City anti-bullying ordinance passes, many have publicly stepped forward to criticize the controversial measure. What's your opinion of the measure? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.