School is in Session and the Bully is Back
By Derek Randel, www.stoppingschoolviolence.com
School started this week. As the Sanders ate dinner, Rick just moved his food around without eating. The nine-year-old looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. His parents knew something was wrong, but he just kept repeating, "nothing is wrong" to all their questions.
At bedtime, he finally let out what was bothering him. The same four boys from last year started bullying him again. The Sanders were very lucky that Rick told them what was happening because most students will not tell their parents. Most students are worried about being retaliated against, humiliated even more, and how their parents will react. The Sanders have built a relationship around communication so Rick knew his parents wouldn't go ballistic.
As a former teacher, I have seen parents handle these situations in many different ways. Most are expectedly upset and emotional, but coming into the school blaming, threatening, or accusing the staff is not the way to get results. You can expect your child to tell you not to contact the school because he thinks it will make the situation worse. However, you are your child's advocate and it may be necessary to contact the school. What is most important is to go into the school and let them know there is a problem. You need to work with the school staff since you're on the same side. Working together instead of attacking each other will work much better and will be easier for your child.
Here are six important steps to follow whenever approaching the school about bullying:
- Document each bullying incident. Look at it this way- if it is not documented, then it didn't happen. Include helpful information such as when, where, and who. Your child needs to keep this record if he expects it to stop.
- Contact your child's teacher even if you're asked not to. You do not have to tell your child you did this. If you cannot go in the school, then call or email him/her. There is a chance that he/she is completely unaware of what is happening. Being calm, supply the teacher with your information.
- Contact the school's administrative office in writing if you're not satisfied with how the situation is being handled. Request a meeting to discuss your documents.
- When meeting with the administration, ask for a written copy of what was discussed. Schools will usually tell you that they cannot discuss the discipline of another student with you, but still document what transpired in the meeting.
- If your child is being bullied, then it is obvious that what is being done is not working. Continue going up the ladder to the superintendent and school board. Too many children are being bullied without anyone getting involved. Everyday 160,000 students do not go to school become they are intimidated. This is unacceptable.
- Don't quit if you're not satisfied; see an attorney if needed. You can also contact the police about filing charges against the bully and then follow this by contacting the media.
Too many students consider school a living hell because they are being bullied. Being a victim can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and much more. If you do not receive the desired results to end the bullying, then another option is to pull your child out of that school. You can pull your child from a public school at any time. Consider all options for their education, but keep in mind that all students need to feel wanted, safe, and successful.
About the author:
Derek Randel iis a parent coach who speaks nationally on how to remove the yelling from your home and how to protect your child/student from bullying and school violence. Derek has been seen on many television shows and is heard on radio shows around the country. He is the author of Stopping School Violence and was nominated for a Disney American Teacher Award. He also is a certified stepfamily coach through the Step-Family Foundation. For more information visit www.stoppingschoolviolence.com.
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