What to Do If Your Child Is the Victim of Bullying
01 May 2016IN: Criminal Law
Dealing with the tragedy of childhood bullying
The seriousness of childhood bullying cannot be ignored or minimized. This devastating experience has serious consequences that affect many individuals, including victims, witnesses and bullies. Every year, more than 3.2 million students are victims of bullying. Bullying leads 160,000 teens to skip school every day to avoid bullying. Many of the victims of bullying are repeat targets with 17 percent of students reporting that they are bullied two to three times a month each semester. School bullying has been associated with physical injuries, increases in anxiety, dropout rates and increases in suicide rates.
Despite the rampant nature of this problem, many schools fail to take action to protect the innocent victims of bullying. Studies show that teachers only intervene in bullying approximately four percent of the time, resulting in more than 67 percent of students believing that schools respond poorly to bullying. The dangerous intersection between this serious problem and the failure of school administrators to take protective action means that parents must serve as their child’s advocate.
Some ways to protect children who are victims of bullying include:
Forming a paper trail
It is important that parents document instances of bullying. They should learn about the identity of the bully, dates of bullying, times of bullying and details of the bullying action. All of this information should be recorded. This information can assist with making a report to the school as well as with any legal action.
Contacting the authorities
If bullying is occurring on school property, school officials should be notified. Parents should schedule a time to meet with the teacher and principal to explain their concerns. They should provide information about the nature and source of bullying and request a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy. Parents should ask if there is anything that they can do to help with the problem and write down any suggestions school administrators provide. Any future contact with school counselors, teachers or principals concerning bullying should also be documented. If any physical bullying, stalking or harassing behavior occurs off school property, consider contacting the police for assistance.
Parents should send a letter to school administrators that details the information discussed in the meeting, the suggestions administrators provided and the action they agreed to take. Parents should check with their child if the bullying is continuing.
Parents should take steps to try to minimize contact between their child and the bully. This may be possible by alternating the child’s schedule so that he or she has less opportunity to be confronted by the bully. For example, the child may be dropped off a little later to school or change lunch hours.
Researching the issue
Parents should review the school’s anti-bullying policy. If cyberbullying is covered, the parent should examine whether the bully has violated the policy and review the action that the school should be taking. If bullying is occurring online, parents can contact the ISP provider and social media web host to have the content taken down after documenting it. Parents can also request surveillance video from the school or other locations where the bullying has occurred.
Seek legal assistance
Concerned parents whose child continues to be bullied after the school is made aware of the problem may require additional assistance. Contact the Law Office of David L. Scott, our Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer for legal guidance.