Nothing can be worse than realizing that your child is suffering at school from being bullied.
It doesn’t matter if it is name-calling, shunning, or physical violence all bullying should be discouraged.
The best way to stop bullying is to prevent it in the first place through good programs that address this type of behavior before it starts.
But, if you realize it’s happening to your child there are things that you can do to stop it.
When your child tells you that they’re being bullied, or you know that they’re being bullied you should start documenting everything they tell you right away.
Try not to upset your child by over-reacting.
It is tempting to get very emotional because it’s hard watching your child go through this. Instead, stay calm and get the details including names, who was around when the incident(s) happened, when it happened and where it happened.
In some cases, bullying can become a crime.
If your child is experiencing dangerous threats, in or out of school, this is a very serious issue that should be addressed by law enforcement.
You’ll need to determine which way you want to go but either way, you’ll want to get the school involved.
Get the School’s Bullying Policy
At the beginning of each school year, you usually sign a bunch of paperwork.
One of the things you likely signed was an acknowledgment of the rules at the school including the bullying policy if they have one.
Call the School
Be calm and make an appointment with the administration.
You will want any adults involved that know about the issue to be present, including your child’s teachers, the principal, the school counselor and anyone else who can affect change at the meeting.
You’ll probably want your child not to attend this meeting while the adults discuss what has been happening. There should be other meetings where your child can attend and give his or her side of the story.
Keep your calm demeanor no matter how the meeting goes.
More than likely the school wants to fix the problem, but occasionally you’ll end up with an administration that seems tone-deaf when it comes to bullying.
Even so, remain calm as you explain to them what is happening with your child.
Be prepared with the notes you’ve documented from your child, the school’ anti-bullying policy and any other important paper work that’s necessary.
Get Everything In Writing
Whatever is decided during the meeting should be put into writing for everyone to sign and acknowledge so that it can be referred to by the administration, you, and your legal representative if you’ve decided to go that route.
Having it written down is your only proof that you have tried and can be useful later if you need to escalate the situation with legal help.
Don’t just expect to talk to the principal and teachers only one time.
If they know that you’re going to follow up they’re going to be more likely to stick with the plan that you came up with in the meeting.
When you follow up you’ll be able to ascertain if they’re really taking it seriously or not.
If the school’s administration isn’t helping, you may need to call in outside resources to help your child and help the school get a handle on the bullying problem.
Stomp Out Bullying and Empowering Parents both offer a lot of resources that can help any parent navigate this rough time.
Bullying is a serious issue that should be addressed by the school administration in a preventative fashion. If your school doesn’t have a program to address bullying, please consider starting one with the parent association at your child’s school.