Some feel that bullying is a normal right of passage in growing up. It isn’t!! There will always be conflicts between kids, but bullying is intentional cruelty, harassment, and emotional, physical and sometimes sexual abuse. This behavior can set the tone for a lifetime of intentional cruelty or worse. And the consequences to the victim can seriously affect them for the rest of their lives. Some victims are so tormented by bullies that they choose suicide as an alternative.
Parents must communicate with their kids and let them know that you’re there for them and will help them. This is critical.
Telling children to fight back in not the answer. It’s teaching your kids violence and tells them that violence is allowed. It is also not advisable to bring the bully and the victim together in the same room. What is advisable is for parents to intervene and teach kids victims and bullies changes in behavior.
Teach your kids self esteem and empowerment. By teaching them the difference between reporting and tattling they will feel empowered and make decisions responsibly.
As a parent or guardian, you can help your child resolve bullying issues by:
Get The Facts
It’s important to listen to your child so you can help them. Get all of the facts.
Ask your child what actions he would like you to take. Remember your child is feeling so vulnerable and he is in pain. Everything is out of control because the bully is controlling your child.
You are your child’s advocate and let him know you will work to solve this.
Approaching Your Child’s School
Does your child’s school know about the bullying? If not, they should be given a reasonable amount of time to resolve the situation.
If more than one school week passes without a satisfactory resolution, remind the school that the bullying has to stop immediately. Every day that passes, your child is in pain.
This is imperative. You should be documenting names, dates, times, locations of the bullying incidents and who you spoke to at school. Document every comment and who made the comment – everyone’s!
Take pictures of injuries, locations, buildings, street signs, people, etc. Get witnesses and document their account of the situation.
Write immediate recaps of any verbal school meetings and reports you make and fax a copy to the person asking them to change anything in the recap that they feel is an incorrect account of your meeting.
The most difficult thing for you to do will be to control you anger – but you must!!!
If your correspondence is angry, the school’s correspondence will be too. It’s human nature to attack back. Be as diplomatic as possible and let them know that you are documenting everything and will share the information with them, and you expect them to take responsibility.
Download The Notice of Harassment Form
Will The Notice of Harassment Stop The Bullying?
There are no guarantees. But, if the school, the bully and his parents are aware that this could become a legal matter and that all incidents in the future will be documented and reported, this could deter the bully.
Who Is Liable? The School? The Bully’s Parents?
Each state jurisdiction is different. Principals and teachers act in loco parentis (in place of parents) during the time your child is in their care at school.
To date, 47 states have some type of parental liability law.
It is always best to consult an attorney for your state’s jurisdiction and legislation.
There have been cases where parents brought legal suit against the school and the parents of the bully. This should be considered only when your child is in real danger and mental anguish and all else fails. Certainly, If this is a case of physical or sexual assault, contact an Attorney immediately.
Bullying By Phone
Get caller ID and don’t allow calls from private callers. Capture the bully’s phone number by taking a picture of your caller ID before you answer the call and tape the conversation or record the call on your answering machine. Taping phone conversations without a person’s consent cannot be used in court however, if the bully leaves a recorded message on your answering machine – that can be used in court. Your child should also document everything the bully says in a notebook or journal as written notes can be used in court.
Your telephone company can also advise you on how to handle threatening phone calls. If they feel it is justified, they can trace and record threatening calls.
Save every note your child received from the bully as they can be used for evidence and to identify handwriting if your child does not know his bully.
In cases of a physical or sexual assault, call the police immediately. Call the police right away and have a report written up. Make sure you have a copy of the report.
What To Do When The School Won't Take Responsibility
Write a letter to the school Principal after each incident of harassment.
Write letters to School Board Members separately and after each incident of harassment.
Write a letter to the School Superintendent after each incident of harassment.
Be Sure To Keep Copies Of All Letters
Remember Not To Write Angry and Out of Control Letters
- Attend School Board meetings and speak out.
- If your State has an snit-bullying law, than insist that your school districts obey the law.
- Write multiple letters to your all members of your State Representatives State Senate and House Education Committee. Let them know what is happening and how your school and its district is ignoring the case. Tell them what is happening in your school and how your Administrators are handling your child's case.
- Contact television news anchors and urge them to report how the schools are ignoring dangerous situations regarding children.
- Write a letter to the Editor of your local newspaper. Rather than talk about your child specifically, write about your schools lack of response for harassed students.
- If you know of other parents whose children are victims of bullying, take these actions as a group.
- If your state’s current anti-bullying law needs improvement or has no anti-bullying law, contact your local State Representative and State Senator and ask them to support State laws that protect children from bullies, students whistle blowers, and make stronger laws making bullies take responsibility for their harmful actions.
It is equally important to get your child professional help from a Therapist who deals with the issue of bullying and the effects it has on child victims.
Parents Can Learn More About Bullying Below:
Bullying And Guns At School
Parents Helping to Stop Bullying and School Violence
Time For School ... Time For Bullying Prevention
What Parents Can Do To Stop Bullying
Kids Can Learn More About Bullying Below:
Bullying At School
Bullying: What Have I Ever Done To You
Cell Phone and Text Messaging Safety
Online Safety For Kids and Teens
Miss Teen New Jersey International 2007 Stand Against Bullies