Burns bullying bills get local, state, national and International attention

I’m so glad that I spent much of last year visiting classrooms throughout the 72nd Legislative District, with the purpose of talking to students about bullying and getting them to sign my anti-bullying pledge.

So many students spoke openly about how they’d been bullied that it broke my heart – and, more importantly, it drove me to want to do something to help these youngsters escape from being tormented.

My solution was legislation that would hold bullies’ parents accountable for tormenting other kids, including a fine of up to $500 for a third offense -- and if they still don’t get the message, $750 for each subsequent bullying offense.

From Johnstown to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; from Washington, D.C., to Biloxi, Mississippi; and from CBS to MSN; my anti-bullying bills got widespread media attention after they were unveiled. The concept even got TV coverage in Australia and news coverage in Canada! I think the attention it’s generated is the hallmark of a good idea.

You can listen to me explaining my anti-bullying bills in this Wilkes-Barre, WILK NewsRadio interview.

Here’s a look at some other news coverage:


A state lawmaker in Pennsylvania is making headlines nationwide for his plans to propose anti-bullying legislation.

Yahoo7.com Sunrise (Australia TV clip)

“I think it’s an outstanding idea because if you think about what we’re doing to parental responsibilities, we tend to dump them onto schools and teachers nowadays.” – Chris Smith, Radio 2GB and 4BC.

News.com.au, Australia

A politician in the United States wants to fine parents and require them to perform community service if their children get caught bullying others at school.

News 12, New Jersey

“A Pennsylvania lawmaker has a plan to cut down on bullying. He wants to punish parents for their child’s bad behavior.”

Miami, Channel 7 News

Rep. Frank Burns said this bill would make parents aware of their child’s bullying and, if they’re repeat offenders, they may get fined.

The Hill

Burns said no student should ever have to go to school "in fear or shame."

Philly Voice

Proposed legislation from Pennsylvania state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, doesn't outline how parents should deal with bullying, and certainly doesn't require them to institute a new exercise routine. However, it would impose penalties on parents whose children are cited for bullying on multiple occasions.

Columbus, NBC4

In a statement issued Monday, the Democrat says bullying can lead to physical assaults and suicide.

He says holding students, parents and officials accountable “is the only way to put an end to this scourge.”

Allentown Morning Call

“If holding parents accountable is what it takes to reel in their kids’ bad behavior, then let’s do it,” said Burns, who is urging other lawmakers to sign onto his legislation.

Pittsburgh, KDKA Channel 2

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation that could have parents footing the bill if their child bullies another kid at school.

Mississippi, Biloxi Sun Herald

State Rep. Frank Burns' bill gives parents three strikes. The first time a child bullies someone, the school is required to inform his or her parents how the school handled the situation. Parents would have to take a class on bullying and attend a bullying resolution conference the second time. The third time, parents would receive a court citation and pay up to a $500 fine.

Harrisburg Patriot-News commentary

With bullying becoming more widespread and inescapable - thanks to the rise of social media - and students' ostracization often triggering violence in the classroom, Burns wants to head all that off before it gets really bad.

Pittsburgh, WPXI Channel 11

After Brentwood and Sharpsburg passed local anti-bullying ordinances that fine parents of bullies, a state lawmaker is proposing more encompassing legislation … Channel 11 checked with the police officer who enforces the (Sharpsburg) law and he said it is working as a deterrent. He also said it's raised awareness of how serious bullying is, and the potential consequences.

Reading Eagle

State Rep. Frank Burns says holding students, parents and officials accountable "is the only way to put an end to this scourge."

Johnstown, WJAC-TV

In an interview Tuesday with 6 News, Burns talked about his time visiting local schools to discuss bullying with students. He said that students would talk to him about the ways they've been bullied and ask him to do something about it.

Harrisburg, ABC 27

The Democrat says bullying can lead to physical assaults and suicide. “Parents should take an active role in their kids’ education, whether he’s a bully or not a bully. That’s how we achieve great schools,” said Burns.

CBS 21, Harrisburg

Burns is taking bullying concerns he’s hearing from Pennsylvania students right to the capitol. “They were telling me about how they were bullied and it doesn’t stop so I felt other than just the (anti bullying) pledge that I had to do more and that we needed to do something across the state,” said Burns who represents Cambria County.


"Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in a meaningful way. When it's not addressed, bullying can escalate quickly from taunts and hurtful online posts to physical assaults and - in worst cases - suicide," Burns said in a statement.

CBS News

Headline: “Pennsylvania lawmaker Frank Burns proposes fining parents $500 for child's bullying”

Washington Post

“Parental accountability is a big factor in bullying,” Burns said. “A lot of parents refuse to believe that their son or daughter is bullying people. They want to believe that their kid is great and would not do such a thing.” The proposal also covers cyberbullying, which is considered a crime in Pennsylvania.

Good Housekeeping.com

Back in 2016, it was reported that the city council of Shawano, Wisconsin, would fine parents $366 if their child had bullied another. There was a lot of controversy surrounding that decision in Wisconsin, and we imagine the same will happen if the legislation gets passed in Pennsylvania.

Johnstown, WWCP Fox 8

The bill would put other new requirements on school districts. The school will have to report on a monthly basis all bullying that happened within that school to the Department of Education. That information would be included in reports of other types of incidents at Pennsylvania schools that the department already posts online.

Toronto Star

It is unclear whether Burns’s proposals were prompted by specific incidents of bullying, but his office said he has visited classrooms throughout his district, located east of Pittsburgh, to talk about bullying and urge students to sign an anti-bullying pledge.

Philadelphia, Fox 29

In a statement issued Monday, the Democrat says bullying can lead to physical assaults and suicide.