Talk To Your Child
Kids have an incredible ability to keep secrets, especially ones that make them feel ashamed. They feel alone, isolated, and afraid. You may suspect something is going on at school, but haven’t had a direct conversation with your child. Start with talking to your children about bullying in general terms. A great resource to use as a guide is Healthy Children’s Teasing and Bullying page. Even if your child offers up no information, this will plant the seed for future conversations.
Document Everything The Bully Does
Keep a log. Include dates, times, the bully’s statements and actions.
Document Every Communication With The School
There have been plenty of cases in the media over the last couple of years that highlight a lack of responsiveness from some schools when dealing with bullying issues. What if you feel like you’ve knocked on every door but have still received no help? Whether you start with a teacher, a principal or the PTA, write down every conversation, save every letter and email. If there has been any physical violence or aggression, call your local police to see if you have grounds to file a report. The more documentation you have on your side, the harder it is for a system to ignore you, especially a system that desires a positive impression from the community. Call your pediatrician with your child’s social concerns–ask them to write a note to the school documenting your conversation.
Get Outside Help
You can start with your child’s school counselor, but what if they are not a good fit? If your child doesn’t seem happy with the support he or she is receiving, call your pediatrician and ask for resources. A social worker may be able to help your child work through fears and anxieties and will be able to give your child tools to use when confronted with a bully. Most importantly, they will be able to assess whether your child is in any danger of harming him or herself.
Educate Yourself on Your State’s Laws
Find your state senator. And write to them. Use all of the information you have, including the bullying events that have occurred and your unheard attempts to get help. Save the original email and resend it frequently with updates.
Go to BullyPolice.org to find out what your state’s laws are surrounding bullying and safety at school.
Join Stand Together
Join Stand Together with your kids. See if your school is willing to promote a community effort against bullying.
Learn More About How To Deal With Bullying
For Kids and Teens