How liable are parents for the actions of their kids? - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

How liable are parents for the actions of their kids?

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The two boys charged in the kitten deaths were shackled in court. The two boys charged in the kitten deaths were shackled in court.
Two teens are accused of attacking a boy and posting it on YouTube. Two teens are accused of attacking a boy and posting it on YouTube.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Several recent cases involving the actions of teens and juveniles have many criticizing parents and questioning how legally responsible they should be held for the actions of their children.

Two students at Roy Martin Middle School were recently arrested for bullying a special needs student and posting the attack on YouTube.

On Tuesday, two juveniles were sentenced for killing kittens.

"Their parents should be held responsible and be held criminally responsible for that," said a recent caller to The Rant, responding to news about the bullying video.

The two boys in that case, ages 13 and 15, have yet to face a judge for their alleged crimes. Parents of teens and children accused of crimes are frequently seen in the courtroom but rarely face prosecution.

"Parents cannot be around kids all the time. Parents can only do so much in supervising children," said FOX5 legal analyst Bob Massi.

Massi said there is legal recourse for victims, usually by way of a civil lawsuit. There is a cap, however, of $10,000, regardless of how severe the crime was.

"Why should a parent lose everything they have because a minor child decides to do something intentional to a third party?" Massi said.

"I'm not a fan of making parents angry or having laws tough on parents," said family therapist Donna Wilburn.

Wilburn works with troubled kids frequently and argues that treatment is the key.

"Your child needs help. So I would give the parents a chance to get their child help before I would punish the parent," she said.

In some cases parents can be charged with neglect or abuse. That is not the case in these most recent instances.

The two teens accused of bullying are due back in court on Wednesday morning.

Many other states have laws capping the amount for which a parent can be held liable for the actions of a child. That law has been on the books in Nevada for decades.

Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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