How can you get a school to help prevent bullying?
What can you do to encourage administrator's at your child's school to help prevent bullying?
Verbal complaints can be largely ineffective when dealing with school faculty or administrators because there is no tangible evidence of the complaint being made. This makes those complaints easy ignore. Keep a notebook handy at home & jot down basic facts about each bully incident the day it happens, including date, approximate time, and any sexual, racial, religion or ethnic based slurs, any physical violence and/or injuries that occur.
(1st) Request a parent/teacher conference. (If possible bring your spouse or another adult relation w/you, so if anything questionable is said, it can't be denied later b/c you have a witness--in all likelyhood the teacher will have a colleage w/them as their witness.
(2) If a p/t conference doesn't work, make a written complaint that lists the actual events or occurrences, injuries to your child (physical or psychological), your attempts to handle it through the teacher or parent, and any threat or disruption to your child's safe learning environment. This will force a school administrator (by most ISD policies) to do a formal investigation of the incident.
(3) If the problem still isn't solved, request a conference w/the Principal and school counselor. Remember to add any new or additional incidents in writing as well as copies of any previous correspondence (letters, emails, phone logs) that you've had w/ teachers or other faculty. Again, bring the other parent or relative who also helps care for your child. If you are able to pin point the times, places or the member of faculty who is supervising your child when the majority of the incidents occur, convey that information also. Be prepared for typical responses such as: School administrators may deny wrongdoing, even if there's clear evidence that the children were not being monitored or behavior policies were not being enforced. (It's legally in their best interest to do so, so they frequently do.) The administrator might try to delibrately anger you or divert the conversation off point. This is also a legal tactic to get you to behave in an irrational or unreasonable manner, in front of a witness. This is a legal attempt to confuse the issue & make you look less than credible, if you attempt legal action in the future--so always stick to the point. Also, NEVER loose your temper & use foul language, you can be charged w/verbal assault. KEEP IN MIND! Even if the principal denies wrong doing & defends the teacher's actions (or lack thereof) in your presence, most likely, the principal will admonish or discipline the teacher in private w/o informing you. They don't want to have to deal w/constant complaints any more than you do.
The reason you should request the school counselor to attend is because one of the school counselor's jobs in most ISD's is to evaluate students who made need individualized behavior programs. If the counselor is made aware of the problem and the offending bullies, as well as the emotional effect on your child & your child's school performance, she can create a specialized program to deal w/the bully and evaluate & assist your child in dealing w/the bully. If a program is created, the teacher is required to implement & follow it.
(4) If you are still unable to get resolution, write a written complaint to the school superintendent, including copies of all previous information & correspondence, and any new incidences that occured. In your written complaint request a meeting with the superintendent.
This seems extremely time consuming, but once you start putting complaints in writing (remember to keep copies for your records) the problem gets dealt with. It's very unlikely that you'll ever have to take it as far as the superintendent. Once your complaints are put into writing, you have legal proof of your complaint and the faculty/administrator can no longer ignore or deny that a complaint was made. Then they must follow the district's policies or they risk making the district legally liable.
i once handled a bully directly with my son, but only because the kid bullied mine in front of me and I had a chance to react immediately (although in all honesty it was just me losing it :) ). i told the kid that I am not like other moms and dads, I smack. hehe. It worked - though I know that it is not perhaps the most responsible solution. Out of all the ways I have dealt with unruly kids with my son over the years that one was the most immediate and effective.
I agree that you need to speak to the teacher first, and then the principle. You might have to ask for a meeting with the kids parents - but I think if a child is bullying it is likely that they are having problems at home and maybe the parents are not the kind that will deal with it anyway.
My son has a very gentle nature, is highly intelligent (think geeky) and is small for his age. He is eight now, and has on and off been a target for bullies. Another thing I did was get him to understand that bullies are kids with problems, either at home, or they are lonely because they don't know how to make friends. It at least helped him understand them and that it wasnt personal, whilst I tried to deal with each situation. It helped him I think, and he has also learned empathy at a young age. Hope this helps someone
Hold the Parents responsible for their children's behavior. More often than not, the parents are a source of the problem because their kids would NEVER do that and it must be the other kid bla bla bla!
my oldest child had a bullying problem. first we made her teachers and office staff aware of the problem. it still continued so we brought proof up to her school. they were able to suspend the child and my daughter was able to change her class schedule. We were also made aware that they have a texting program with the school police officer so if there is any bullying going on any student can text the officer and the officer gets involved. This has helped out alot with other students as well.
As a child bullied at school, as a parent and as a teacher, I came to understand that bullying has much deeper roots that can not be diminished just by involving administrators at your child's school. To explain my point, please my hub:
I suggest inviting Izzy Kalman psychologist who works with schools, teacher and students to stop bullying. He also has on line courses. He focuses on victim proofing schools which means that we have to stop focusing on creating victims; telling about it is unhelpful and often counterproductive because it creates more bullying, the victim feels powerless and needs help to stop it. Teaching kids that they are not victims gives them the power to stop bullying. You can see him in action on youtube:
There are many other videos with him where he gives examples and role plays bullying in action and how to stop it.
I have heard him several times, I even got my kids to listen (of course I pre-screened it and removed the rude words that I don't want my kids to repeat yet), his book is great for teachers, parents and students: Bullies to buddies.
I will stop explaining what he does and how to stop bullying, but look at the video, he will show you examples how to do it in action.
His web site is www.bullies2buddies.com
I agree with Mary McCreery. Remember, the school is a large institution with different goals than you. They are trying to move the large number of kids they have in their school through to the next level, while maintaining a certain level of apparent effectiveness. They are not interested in the outliers- the ones and twos who make the school better - they are interested in the averages, as those are the numbers that are consumed by people looking to rate the school. And they are interested in bringing up the bottom of the curve, as failure rate is another number they are measured on. Your goal, presumably, is for your kid to excel to the best of his/her ability, to be taught to think for him/herself, to appreciate the arts on at least a minor level, and for him or her to be safe, happy and healthy at the school. DO NOT let it slide when something challenges that for your child. Follow up each time. Submit your complaints in writing, in person and keep copies. Set specific goals, with follow up dates and accountability (e.g. not "the school will do", but "Teacher X will do"). And then follow up. Depending on where you live, your state may have explicitly written requirements for how the administrators at the school need to handle this. Look into that as well. Always remember - the person suffering is YOUR child. And not just emotionally. Bullied and fearful children do not function as well in a learning environment as children who are not bullied and fearful, and the long term effects can be staggering.
Interesting study on bullying!
my kids have been bullied at their school, more recently its been my 4yr old who has had another girl in her year picking on her. I spoke to her teacher about it, he has had a word with the kids and so far nothing has happened but if talking to the teacher doesnt help, speak to the headmaster/mistress and if nothing is being done just go straight to the school governor. mine have been lucky so far but i know of a few at their school who are now changing because the school isnt doing enough for them. hopefully your situation wont get to that. hope this helped.