Monona anti-bullying ordinance first of its kind

Law enforcement can ticket parents if kids are repeat bullies
Monona anti-bullying ordinance first of its kind

A new city of Monona ordinance focusing on anti-bullying is a first-of-its-kind. Parts of it allow law enforcement to ticket parents if their kids are repeat bullies.

Ignore warnings from police and mom and dad could face a $114 fine. The unique policy is also making headlines nationwide.

“I talked to a radio station in San Francisco, I was on the air with CBC in Toronto,” explained Monona Police Chief Walter Ostrenga, who was also quoted in a New York newspaper and will appear on CBS News Saturday.

“The whole topic has gone viral; it’s nuts,” said Ostrenga about the provision, which doesn’t target parents who are actively seeking help for their children.

“It’s (for) the ones, and they’re rare, when you knock on the door and they say, ‘my child has no problems, mind your own business, get out of here’ and then slam the door in your face,” said Ostrenga.

At Monona’s Nuestro Mundo Community School, students report being bullied, but an annual soccer tournament tries to change that. The teacher said she encourages the fourth and fifth grade students to compliment one another and make sure every child gets playing time — something parent Sankulay Jallow appreciates.

“I’m proud of Monona,” said Jallow. “We should all work together and make sure it’s not happening, that it’s ended.”

Not everyone is a proponent of the new policy, but Ostrenga, at least, started a conversation about trying to stop bullying.

“We want parents to be good parents, we want them to do the right thing, we want people to be treated with respect and dignity and not everyone does that,” said Ostrenga.

Officers haven’t written any tickets since the council approved the ordinance about two weeks ago. Get one and don’t pay? There are consequences, like a lien against your property.

The ordinance also prohibits harassment by phone and computer.

Do you know someone working to stop bullying? E-mail us at and we might air their story as part of our Time for Kids Buddy Project, which shows kids it’s better to be buddies than bullies.