Paul Jacob
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Obviously, even with this new, incredibly aggressive anti-bullying system, not every act of intimidation or violence will be prevented. But certainly the days of bullies bullying their bullied victims without also tying up the entire educational bureaucracy are over.

The only downside to this innovative approach is that math, English and history had to be dropped entirely. There just isn’t the time, manpower and other resources to do it all.

Of course, bullying isn’t the only serious dilemma being addressed by New Jersey legislators. Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex) is drafting a bill, A-3657, to regulate today’s wild-west world of bicycles.

She suggests each bike should have a license plate and that riders would be required to register their bicycle each year and pay a $10 fee. Anyone caught up in a road-block or SWAT sweep of their neighborhood and found in possession of an unregistered weapon — er, bike — would face a fine of $100.

For now, bicycle criminals would not face prison time.

The legislation is in response to several incidents where kids riding bicycles allegedly knocked down elderly citizens. Because the speeding two-wheeled vehicles lacked flashy, large-lettered license plates, the perpetrators could not be identified and brought to justice.

While most of the victims of unregulated bicycle violence have thus far been elderly, it stands to reason that bicycle bullies will also prey disproportionately on the young, minorities and the poor.

Still, when it comes to protecting citizens, bullies and bicycles are not the only problems. Happy Meals — the sole cause of childhood obesity — come to mind as well.

Nor is Jersey the only place for solutions. There is the City by the Bay. In November of last year, San Francisco enacted a ban on restaurants offering their customers toys with their meals, if the meals fail to meet certain nutritional requirements.

“If there is no toy, kids wouldn’t eat the meal,” says San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, a stalwart advocate of the new law. Strange, when I was a kid I loved Mickey D’s for its hamburgers, fries and milk shakes, even though we were denied free toys in those dark days.

The ordinance won’t take effect until next December, but already Frisco kids appear to be surviving into adulthood.

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Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.