Dealing With School BulliesBy Child Safety Specialist Aug 25, 2010 | 11:20:00 amPosted in: Child Safety
I can’t believe that school’s starting next week – the summer really flew by! I always looked forward to the beginning of the school year – getting new clothes, seeing old friends and buying all my fresh, new school supplies. School was always easy for me except for one year when I had to deal with a bully. It was a nightmare!
There’s so much in the news about cyberbullying but the good old school-yard bully still exists and can make our kid’s lives miserable. I can’t believe how early it starts too. When my son was in first grade some boy threw his lunch box in the bathroom garbage. At least that was fairly benign. When some schools have metal detectors at the doors you know there’s some serious problems.
As a parent it’s so hard to send our kids off to school and not worry about their safety. And let’s face it, as much as our schools tell us they have a “zero tolerance” bullying policy, are they really enforcing that? And who’s monitoring the school bus, one of the prime places for bullying?
Bullying is an age-old problem but we can be more informed on how we deal with it. There are some great resources out there including a site from the Department of Health and Human Services – www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov.
An ounce of prevention, however, is always the best bet. A consistent curriculum about tolerance and anti-bullying is important. Talk to your child’s teacher to learn what sort of program they have in school. If the answer is vague, get involved and check out some of the resources available on the Stop Bullying Now site and bring them to the attention of your PTA and principle.
There’s always a bit of denial on a parent’s part that their child could actually be the bully but if another parent calls you to discuss and issue, consider it. Have frequent family conversations about tolerance and appreciating other’s differences.
Keep your eyes open for signs that your child might be the victim of a bully. If she suddenly doesn’t want to ride the school bus or makes up excuses why she doesn’t want to go to school, there’s usually a problem. Get her to discuss this with you and deal with it immediately. Simply telling your child to “ignore it” or “sit somewhere else” won’t help. Call your child’s teacher and the principal and make them aware of the situation. Speak to the bus driver as well. Under no circumstances allow them to dismiss the comments or ignore the situation! Most people don’t realize that the majority of states have laws against bullying. If you do not get a satisfactory response from the school, elevate it to the next level. It could also require a call to the bully’s parents. This is never an easy situation and they might dismiss the situation as well but at least you can feel good that you tried all avenues.
Above all, let your child know that you support them and you will help them solve the situation.
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