This could cost you $250.
Credits: Vuk Vukmirovic
HANNA, Alta. — Bullies now face fines and possible jail time for calling people names in this town, and their followers who cheer on their taunts could be forced to pay up, too.
Town council's anti-bullying bylaw came into effect last month. Investigations will be done at the RCMP’s discretion based on the consistency and severity of the insults.
The punishment for breaching the bylaw is a $250 fine for the first offence with subsequent offences carrying a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail or community service.
There is also a bystander clause, which carries a $100 fine for people who, for example, cheer on an attack.
The bylaw was passed in response to an increase in bullying, which the local RCMP found to be occurring off school property where no one had the means to do anything about it.
“It’s mainly to give the RCMP…another mechanism to help in those situations,” Mayor Mark Nikota said.
When parents and children come to the RCMP for help in this town northeast of Calgary, the police can now act on their concerns rather than simply provide advice.
The bylaw’s purpose is to allow police to deal with bullying before it escalates into a criminal offence or, at worst, a suicide.
The anti-bullying bylaw won't circumvent the Criminal Code in cases involving uttering threats or assault, but can provide additional evidence for the court to consider should a bully intensify his or her abuse.