Illinois State Representative La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) is proposing a bill to criminalize parents who “knowingly, with intent to discipline or alter the behavior of a child, says or messages anything that would coerce the child.” The bill, which is currently pending, would criminalize the behavior as “parental bullying.”
Bill HB0029 states:
Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Creates the offense of parental bullying. Provides that a parent or legal guardian of a minor commits parental bullying when he or she knowingly and with the intent to discipline, embarrass, or alter the behavior of the minor, transmits any verbal or visual message that the parent or legal guardian reasonably believes would coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to the minor. Provides that parental bullying is a petty offense. Provides that if a person is convicted of parental bullying, the court shall order that person to pay for the costs of prosecution and that a portion of any fine imposed, as determined by the court, be placed in escrow for the purchase of a certificate of deposit for use by the victim when he or she attains 18 years of age.
Ford introduced the bill in December, but there are currently no other sponsors.
Think of all that would criminalize: Yelling at your child to stop throwing food at the table. Chewing out your kid for not doing homework. Giving your child a mean look for using foul language. The list is endless.
To top it off, the website of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago), says he “is a firm believer in the power of responsible parenting and established the Council on Responsible Fatherhood, which aims to support fathers and help them to become more responsible and present.”
Labeling disciplined parenting as “bullying” may be precisely the last thing Chicago needs. Only 11% of Black kids in Chicago public schools read at grade level. Just 6% can do math at grade level. That’s a parental failure, not just school failure. And crime? Can any sane person deny that Chicago’s crime epidemic stems in part from parents who don’t discipline?
In 2021, Ford resigned from the board of trustees at Loretto Hospital over how it handled vaccine distribution to people not yet eligible for the vaccine.
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