Updated: Jul 2, 2020
What all is in your power to increase your child's safety when struggling with bullying?
If you are reading this you already know what a problem bullying is. You may know how hard it is to keep your child safe at school, especially when all of the supposed help hasn't been and isn't helpful. Whether you are one to follow the rules or to take situations into your own hands, it is incredibly difficult to make lasting improvements on bullying.
The unfortunate truth is that most often even school staff have no idea how to really help. Their focus and expertise is elsewhere and their hands are often tied with policies and protocols that can be far from effective. In order to prevent suspensions and expulsion for your own child - even as only the victim of bullying - it's important to get acquainted with school policies to ensure they are being followed by both you and school staff.
Some things you can do to help your child include...
Understand what constitutes as bullying, so appropriate reporting can be made.
Improve your child's self esteem and give them tools for setting boundaries.
Establish relationships and open communication with any school staff that wants to be helpful.
Provides age appropriate training, coaching and resources for children and parents on arming and empowering your child with a Safety Plan they plan to use.
Be sure you are getting as much help from as many avenues as possible. Do not minimize, rationalize or deny the seriousness at hand. Bullying becomes a legal matter when it crosses into criminal behavior, which includes…
· Unwanted physical contact (Physical Assault)
· unwanted contact resulting in bumps and bruises (Assault with physical injury)
· offensive jokes, name-calling, intimidation - including messages online (Harassment)
· continued unwanted contact outside of school (Stalking)
It can seem harsh, but getting police involvement at the earliest appropriate opportunity can be helpful in getting the attention and help needed for a recurring situation to be appropriately and seriously addressed.
The long term, permanent solution to bullying is addressing school culture to create an environment where bullying simply doesn't pay off.
We strongly recommend insisting your child's school assesses and updates policies relating to bullying and implements improvements through adequate training for school faculty as well as education through work shops and assemblies for the student body.
Citizen Defense Training
Provides training to school faculty and staff, assemblies to students and recommendations on updating school policies to better protect against bullying.
School budget can be an issue. Our experience is with enough pressure from parents, schools are often able to make adjustments in order to find the funding for the expenses of such training. Fundraising and crowdfunding by parents has also been another solution, as well.
If you are a "do-it-yourself" kind of person, you can find further information, direction and encouragement on assessing and encouraging changing your child's school's policies (as well as keeping your kids safe in general) by reading Gavin de Becker's book, Protecting the Gift.
Some ADDITIONAL RESOURCES that may be helpful...
Stomp Out Bullying
Provides information and advice for advocates and victims of bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other forms of abuse.
Federal website with resources on bullying, cyberbullying prevention, responses to bullying.