12/07/2012 09:37 EST | Updated 02/06/2013 05:12 EST

Hanna Bullying Bylaw: Bullies Face Fines, Jail Time In Small Alberta Town


If you want to call someone a mean name in Hanna, Alberta, you had better be prepared to pay a steep fine -- or maybe even a bit of time in the slammer.

According to Metro Calgary, Hanna town council approved a new bylaw last month that will allow RCMP to hand out initial fines of $250 to name-slinging bullies and further fines of $1,000 for repeat offences. If the tormenting gets really out of control, the bully could find himself in jail for up to six months or doing community service hours.

"The RCMP approached us -- they didn't have a mechanism for dealing with bullying short of when it becomes a Criminal Code offence," Mark Nikota, who serves as mayor of the town of around 2,700, told Metro Calgary.

The Calgary Sun reports that bullying investigations in the town northeast of Calgary will be conducted by the RCMP and punishment will be based on the frequency and severity of the insults.

Bullying has become a problem in the small town, The Sun reports, and local RCMP have found it to be occurring mostly off school property where it's tough for parents and school officials to do anything about it.

"It's mainly to give the RCMP...another mechanism to help in those situations," Nikota told The Sun.

This new bylaw enables parents and children to notify police and have an official intervene before it escalates into criminal behavior or suicide.

According to Metro, other Alberta municipalities have also passed their own versions of bully bylaws. Grande Prairie can also now issue $250 fines.

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