Monona Police Chief Wally Ostrenga... thinks the parent-liability clause will be used sparingly, if at all, and only in cases where parents are obstructive or uncooperative. He hopes the mere threat of a ticket will be enough....
The broader ordinance prohibits any person age 12 or older from engaging in bullying, subject to similar municipal fines. The ordinance defines bullying as “an intentional course of conduct which is reasonably likely to intimidate, emotionally abuse, slander, threaten or intimidate another person and which serves no legitimate purpose.”Ironic that bullying is defined to include threats and the police plan to use the ordinance to make threats. But the ordinance refers to threats that serve no legitimate purpose. But is there a legitimate purpose to threatening to make parents pay $114 if they don't take action to control the teenagers who express themselves in a manner that the authorities have decided is too hurtful?
“Sometimes you’ll knock on someone’s door and they won’t want to talk to you — their kids are perfect, they could never do anything wrong,” Ostrenga said. “This is for those times when we get the door slammed in our faces.”So the purpose is, admittedly, to pressure parents to talk to the police. The people who have been declining to speak with the police will now have to pay for the privilege.
Parents who are making a good-faith effort to address a child’s behavior would not be ticketed, he said.I guess there is such "a court" here in Dane County — where Monona, like Madison, is located — and I would feel much more intimidated, emotionally abused, and threatened if I didn't believe — speaking of beliefs — that court would be reversed on appeal.
City Attorney William S. Cole called the tactic “a tool of last resort” and said he believes it would withstand a court challenge.