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Rancho City Council May Become First California City to Criminalize Bullying

The council will consider a conceptual ordinance proposed by Councilman Brad McGirr at tonight's meeting.

Rancho Santa Margarita City Councilman Brad McGirr. Patch photo credit: Martin Henderson.
Rancho Santa Margarita City Councilman Brad McGirr. Patch photo credit: Martin Henderson.
The Rancho Santa Margarita City Council will discuss tonight a proposed ordinance that would make bullying a violation of law.
If the council gives the green light, RSM would become the first city in the state to outlaw bullying. 

Under current state law, bullying -- when proven -- only results in school discipline, which can only be meted out by a superintendent or principal, according to a council report Councilman Brad McGirr prepared for his colleagues' consideration.

McGirr told a group of students recently that he himself was bullied. 

"I was bullied a lot," CBS reports him saying.

His proposed law would create financial penalties, between $100 and $500, for proven cases of bullying.

Here's the actual language of the conceptual bullying ordinance:

Sec. 6.07.060. Bullying  

(a) The City Council finds and determines as follows:   

(1) "Bullying" means any intentional, unwelcome severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a minor or group of minors directed toward one or more minors that has, or can be reasonably predicted to have, the effect of one or more of the following:   

(A) Placing a reasonable minor in fear of harm to that minor’s person or property.   

(B) Causing a reasonable minor to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health.   

(C) Causing a reasonable minor to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance.   

(D) Causing a reasonable minor to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.   

(2) (A) "Electronic act" means the transmission by means of an electronic device, including, but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone, or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager, of a communication, including, but not limited to, any of the following:  

(i) A message, text, sound, or image.   

(ii) A post on a social network Internet Web site, including, but not limited to:   

(I) Posting to or creating a burn page. "Burn page" means an Internet Web site created for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1).   

(II) Creating a credible impersonation of another actual minor for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). "Credible impersonation" means to knowingly and without consent impersonate a minor for the purpose of bullying the minor such that another minor would reasonably believe, or has reasonably believed, that the minor was or is the minor who was impersonated.   

(III) Creating a false profile for the purpose of having one or more of the effects listed in paragraph (1). "False profile" means a profile of a fictitious minor or a profile using the likeness or attributes of an actual minor other than the minor who created the false profile.  

(3)"Reasonable minor" means an unemancipated minor, including, but not limited to, an exceptional needs minor, who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct for a person of his or her age, or for a person of his or her age with his or her exceptional needs.  

(b) It is unlawful for any minor to engage in bullying activity of a minor or minors as defined herein. No minor shall be prosecuted for a violation of this section; however, law enforcement officials are authorized to detain any minor in violation of this section who is observed by the law enforcement officer to be committing such a violation until the minor is released to such minor’s custodial parent, guardian or other person maintaining legal custody of the minor. 

(c) It is unlawful for any parent, guardian or other person maintaining legal custody of a minor to permit, or by insufficient control to allow, such minor to bully another minor as defined herein. Upon conviction of a violation of this Ordinance, a parent, guardian or other person maintaining legal custody of the minor shall: 

(1) on the first offense be guilty of an infraction, punishable by a fine not exceeding $100.00;   
(2) on the second offense be guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $200.00;   
(3) on each additional offense be guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine not exceeding $500.00.  

(d) In lieu of a fine, the court may impose probation provided that a condition of probation is the attendance in any available anti-bullying class, program or workshop, or other suitable class, program or workshop as approved by the court.  

(e) This Ordinance shall not be construed to apply to any activity or speech that is protected by the U.S. Constitution or the Constitution of the State of California.  

(f) If any section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion of this Ordinance is, for any reason, held to be invalid or unconstitutional by the decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Ordinance. The City Council hereby declares that it would have adopted this Ordinance and each section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more section, subsection, subdivision, sentence, clause, phrase, or portion thereof be declared invalid or unconstitutional. 
Diane Griego June 27, 2014 at 03:23 PM
This law is being created to endorse, support and encourage homosexuality and BULLY those who are conservative restricting religious freedom. Statistical facts and truth about homosexuality and EX-Homosexuals will be prohibited and catergorize religious beliefs as hate speech. While those demanding tolerance are the true BULLIES taking away societies freedom of speech. If this becomes law society had better be prepared to accept and embrace organizations such as B4U-ACT a group of pedophiles bent on making pedophelia legal and whom have jumped on the homosexual "born that way" bandwagon. And they ask if homosexuality is given a pass who is to say their attraction is inappropriate if imperative their consent? Harvey Milk unapologetic about his affairs with underage boys is the perfect hero for their organization andis proof hhomosexuality and pedophelia are one in the same. And as the age of consent gets lower and lower this could become another FORCED reality just as homosexuality has been FORCED upon California. Scary times for families.
Morgan June 29, 2014 at 01:07 PM
How in the word does this law encourage homosexuality? There is nothing wrong with who someone loves. If you do not like it, no one is forcing you to look at it. Gay marriage has zero effect on you and your marriage. I think you're commenting on the wrong article, Diane.
glenn bernard June 29, 2014 at 06:44 PM
How many people can recognize a publicity stunt when it is staring them in the face? Divide California into six states? Great idea if it means that cities and counties suddenly exist in name only, and no longer receive any funds whatsoever. There are 478 incorporated cities in Calif, and all the mayors already think of themselves as governors. Now add 58 counties. How does it sound to have only 6 bureaucracies, instead of 536?
JESS Kalinowsky Registered Voter June 29, 2014 at 11:14 PM
BULLYING is serious. It takes serious action and serious consequences. PARENTS need to be held responsible if the offender is a child.
glenn bernard June 30, 2014 at 01:48 PM
Government is the biggest bully, not only in America, but also in every country on the planet. Thank God we have the 2d Amendment.

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