As many of us already know since probably the dawn of time, we've had a bully in our lives somewhere @ sometime. So, why is it that we as parents and educators can't seem to stop this huge dilemma that keeps occurring in our schools?
I remember while growing up that I was bullied once or twice. My husband did, too. Then he became a bully while he was in high school( mind you, this was long before I met him). Now, we have a family with a special needs child who has had to deal with being bullied since the 1st grade. I have dealt with the school he attends about this every time. But, this year is the worst. My son, who is only 9 yrs. old, has been bullied 3 times this year alone. The high point of this last time was a conversation he and I had which led to him saying " that he can't wait to grow up so he can kill himself because of these bullies".
Yes, I sent an email to his teacher and the principal explaining this conversation and what should be done to rememdy this. I informed them that my husband and I are debating to either transfer our son to another school or to homeschool him. I feel that if he were to transfer to another school, he'd still have a bullying problem.; but, being homeschooled would mean that I'd have to quit my job and stay @ home so this could happen. I'm @ my wit's end and would like some advice. If you think you could help with this, please feel free.
I have a dear friend with a special needs child who was bullied at high school. No matter what she did, it continued. (Not in my school district I am happy to note.)
The child's teachers seemed only mildly interested in the problem.
The bullying continued.
She finally went to the school to see the principal for the umpteeth time and this time gave her a notarized letter.
The letter stated what was happening and that she had been to the school many times with no result.
It also said that a copy of the letter was being kept on file at her lawyer's office and would be used in any court proceedings arising out of the school's negligence or if her son was ever punished for defending himself at school.
The principal thanked her and said there would be no more bullying.
And there wasn't.
This is one of the best answers to a problem I've ever heard. Unless the school has a zero tolerance policy for bullying, drugs, etc., it will happen. And if you're in a school that doesn't have a zero tolerance policy, then you can force their hand by doing such as was suggested here.
Bullying is often a result of the bully feeling insecure and inadequate in their own life and take it out on others. When they don't get what they need at home or school, there is bound to be problems. Since we can't go around "fixing" all these bullies, it's good to know what your rights are and create some options for yourself and your child.
It must be devastating to hear your child say they would rather be dead than experience the trauma of bullying.
I agree that it is important that schools take the issue seriously and I think lately, they are. New policies and programs are cropping up everywhere, which is great to see. But school policy alone will not end bullying. If you have ever worked with children other than your own you will know the frustration of trying to teach and enforce respect when outside of school, there are different rules and opposing messages.
It is important to remember that adults bully too. Even if you are able to shield your child for now, how will they cope in an adult world?
You and your child have little control over the behaviour of the bullies and unfortunately, the school doesn't either, as much as they try. Perhaps rather than trying to stop someone else's behaviour, focus on how best to respond to it. Your child might benefit from resilience training.
Bullying is a problem that is there in schools, places of work, colleges and much more in many different forms. It's sad that it is so widely present and not much is being done. Thanks for the lovely article!
Well the story about your husband reminded me a bit of myself. I was bullied during elementary school because I always had the best marks (jealousy is really extremely spread in todays society!!), later in high school I began to bully others who had bad marks because I noticed that our class was picking "weak ones" to bully and I didn't want to be bullied again, so instead of me being bullied I started bullying others. I know that this was wrong and I stopped it after about a year. I never bullied someone to the point that he had suicide in mind though, I rather just mocked people in front of the class when they had a big mouth in private but then received bad marks in school (nevertheless bullying in every form is bad and I'm sorry for what I've done!)
I noticed that bullying was omnipresent, in every class I was. People started bullying each other, and it was said that you have to bully others in order not to get bullied yourself. Even girls exploited boys just to make fun of them and in an age where everybody has a camera cellphone and facebook, bullying reached a new dimension!
That's sad, because teachers and principal don't seem to care or if they do care they don't do much about it since they have to worry about so many other things. When I was bullied in elementary school my parents and I went to the head-teacher and principal several times but it didn't stop (I was always robbed by older students after school).
The school defended them because they all were immigrants (they didn't even got detention), the tax payer even had to pay the bullies a taxi every day because the principal decided that they would stop robbing other children if they were picked up right after school and then drove home.
I always felt that this wasn't fair since they started boasting about how they got their own free taxi service just by stealing money from us and beating other students and one time when the same students robbed me again during a break, I picked a shovel that was lying on the ground and broke the nose of one of them. Of course I got several weeks of detention and was nearly kicked from school since I was overreacting, and I regret it but from then on the bullying stopped, even If i get to see the guy whose nose I broke (he's now working in a supermarket as a cashier after being 3 years in prison for drug dealing) he always greets me nice and apologizes for what he did when we were young.
It's sad that all experiences that I made with bullying either stopped when someone was hurt (offender or victim) or when Parents threatened the school to sue them. Nothing else seemed to be working.
So if you really tried speaking to the principal several times and nothing happened. I would formulate a letter or even a testify by a psychiatrist about how your child is being bullied and about his intentions to commit suicide. If that doesn't set the mind of the principal right at least a judge will do.
The thing that has changed is that people can now share their bullying exploits via social media.
They can even stream it live.
These bullies now get encouragement and validation from their friends via social media and in the schools.
What was once fairly private (and still bad) is now very public.
We just had a local news report of a bully impersonating their victim on Facebook. It took a news station to get the police and Facebook to put an end to it.
We also have absurd games that virtually reward victimization, such as Grand Theft Auto and a few other games.
And if the bully is really prolific they even get their 15 minutes of fame on TV.
Glee has been focusing a lot on bullying recently - the kid doing the bullying himself is gay but isn't willing to deal with it or come out of the closet, so he turns to bullying. I wish Glee would more responsibly show the effects of this bullying the negative implications and results it can have.
There are nearly always underlying issues with both sides. The person who is bullying is often jealous or compensating. The person being bullied is often lacking self esteem. A person with a strong sense of self is seldom the target.
I think that a line has to be drawn, I saw a kid nearly get expelled because he constantly teased a kid about how he dressed, but the kid always dressed badly. The issue is however that over the course of the year this took place the kids dress sense actually got better.
In some cases a kid becomes a target because they are doing things which make them a target. In cases such as the disabled kid bullying would obviously wrong, however in the case of not brushing teeth, not washing, and so on, the victim might just start thinking about why they became a target, and actually learn something from it.
I used to get bullied a few years in to primary school, it taught me two things.
a)Despite what my mum said, dressing well does matter, something that has served me well over the years.
b)I can actually stand up for myself.
My son was bullied. He's an Idiopathic toe walker. I finally took him out of public school and into a good charter school. Some of the kids there tease him still, but they aren't physically aggressive. If they were they'd get kicked out. They have a zero tolerance policy that is way more effective than the public schools. Also the school has a very high concentration on Math and Science and college prep, so the kids there are more focused than the ones at public school anyway.
Well done! That clearly was the right decision!
A friend of mine also was an Idiopathic toe walker, he was also bullied. But he didn't get much support from his parents, because they were at that time in an ugly divorce and fighting over their belongings.
He had to repeat class because he had such a hard time and therefore didn't show up at school because his parents also didn't care where he actually was during the day. 2 years later when his mother and some teachers finally realized that he wasn't bad at school because he's not interested but rather feared going to school, he was also sent to a private school. Not only is he no longer a toe walker after 3 years of therapy, he also recently succeeded in getting a Masters Degree in business studies.
He always sad that this experience nearly ruined his life when he was about to get kicked out of school due to his bad marks (that remained bad even after repeating the class). After he changed school he was still bullied but far less, he even thinks that this gave him the strength for completing the therapy and for his studies.
Bullies often have a lot of problems and don't face them so rather than doing something about it they hinder others from having a good life.
I wish your son all the best and hope that he too can one day look back at this episode of his life with mixed emotions rather than only with sad emotions. Because in the end it doesn't matter what people say, as long as you live your life and do the best you can.
I'm not at all making fun of the bullying forum subject. It is very serious and the school and parents should be aware of the bullies.
The subject just brought to mind a program on TV called 'Bully Beat Down." I'm a fan of mixed martial arts.
The bullied write to the program and ask for help. the bully is approached and asked to fight a prof fighter. If he wins he can win $10,000. If he gets his butt beat, all the mnoney goes to the bullied with an apology.
The bully always, ALWAYS, gets whipped good!
I love the show. :
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