We want all schools to be bully-free zones, but that is easier said than done.
In my state of Indiana, state law requires school staff to complete training annually about bullying. The purpose is to understand what bullying is, what signs to look for, how to identify bullying, and how to report incidents of bullying. Furthermore, students in Indiana participate in bullying programming annually. Even with all of this prevention, bullying still occurs.
Bullying is repeated actions or behavior that is unwanted by the recipient. Schools are tasked with making sure students understand the difference between being bullied or dealing with an unpleasant interaction. For example, if a child is called a name during a game at recess, but is never called a name again by that student, that is not bullying. If a child is called a name every day at school by the same student, that is bullying, and it needs to be reported.
If you suspect your child is a victim of bullying, it needs to be reported. When bullying is not reported, the staff at school might not be aware of what is happening and the student will continue to suffer. When the school is informed, actions can be taken to help both the bully and the victim of bullying.
Next, parents should reassure their children that they are loved and not weak. The worse action a parent can take is to blame the child or suggest if they were stronger, they would not have been bullied. The child is already being beaten up emotionally and/or physically at school, and he or she does not need the same treatment at home.
Last, stay on top of how the school responds or fails to respond to the bullying. I wish I could confidently say all schools take appropriate action, but I cannot. Your child’s safety has to come first. We have too many children dying by suicide because of bullying. This really is a life and death matter. If your child’s school is not taking action go to the district level. Keep fighting until the issue is resolved.
To learn more about bullying, click here.