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What to do When Your Child is Being Picked on at School
How your child is being picked on would depend a lot on the method that you would need to use to handle the situation.
Despite the method of picking/abuse, you need to talk to your child. Find out if this is something above the ordinary kids teasing kids. You need to determine if this is short-term or something that has been on-going. Will it be something that will blow over in a few weeks or something that is likely to carry on? Children will have conflicts and teasing will ensue. If it has a definite cause and is likely to be short term, you need to arm your child with methods of self preservation and stay out of it at any other level.
handling school bullies
Methods of self-preservation include:
- Witty, but not cruel comebacks
- Methods of Avoidance
- How to make new friends
You do need to get more involved if it isn’t something that isn’t likely to end in a few weeks, has been ongoing, takes place outside of school, or is physical.
Generally, first line of defense is to talk to the teacher(s). Is there an awareness of what is going on? If not, inform them and see what input and help you can get. Is it possible to separate their desks? Can a lesson be incorporated into the lesson plan about not bullying? The short story, “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury, with discussion is excellent for older children while general bully issue is good for younger children. Can there be more supervision at school? DO come with suggestions. DO NOT allow for the situation specifically to be brought up for public discussion. When being discussed all things need to remain general.
Another line of defense, especially with Jr. High and high school children, would be an appointment with the counselor. Counselors are trained to be able to handle these situations. Counselors are able to talk with the children in question and determine the root cause; even younger children prefer not to let mom and dad in on all aspects of a situation, and help the kids to work it out. The counselor will also be able to help the child with other tools to deal with the issue so that your child is able to cope with the situation.
You also need to speak to the principal. Do not accept any excuses, especially if there is any physical abuse. A bad home life or behavior issues is not an excuse. If a child can’t handle their behavior, they need to be separated from other children until they can. The school’s counselor should be highly involved in helping the child through emotional issues.
If the school will not handle the problem, go to the school board. Before the next meeting, which you need to be at, email the board. Explain the problem. Illustrate the steps you have taken. Tell them why the school is letting you and your child down. Ask them to take specific action. Be reasonable. Do not let your anger get the better of you. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar isn’t a cliché without a reason.
If anything takes place off school property, there isn’t much the school can do. They can help regulate issues at school, but not punish for off-school issues. In this case, you may want to set up a meeting with the other child’s parents. You need to find a way to keep it neutral. This is their baby you are talking about and they will instinctively want to protect their child. Come armed with specific incidents. Have ideas in mind. Don’t blame their child, keep it factual. Do not involve the child; this should be a parents-only meeting.
If you don’t make any progress with the parents, and it is highly likely you will not, you may want to call the police. If there is cyber bullying going on, it needs to end. Everything on the Internet will always be on the Internet—most things are not ever fully removed, somewhere there can be documents. Backdoors exist everywhere. And while kids will get into fights—right or wrong—no one should ever live in fear of being attacked or injured severely.
If none of this helps, you may need to consider other options. You might need to look into home bounding your child—if the school cannot provide the same safe environment for your child that it does for the other children, you have a good argument for them providing tutors at their cost. You might need to home school or send your child to private school. You may even need to look at moving. Your child’s long term mental health and safety is the utmost priority. And if all else fails, you can always go to the media—just remember to have documented every phone call, every email, and every incident in detail: names, dates, times, conversations, etc.