When your child is being bullied and it needs to be stopped, parents are not only the best advocate; they also need to be the leader of the solution.
Most schools are well intended, but have a million fires to put out every day. Most will collaborate and help, but parents of bullied children must act quickly, professionally and must be very clear about expectations – the bullying needs to stop. Take the lead, set up a meeting with the school right away, write out the plan (to-dos, assign tasks to each party…) and hold all parties accountable. If the school does not already have a bullying incident report go to www.solutionsforbullying.com, print out a free form and bring it to the meeting. Send the plan via e-mail and via U.S. mail to insure all parties received the information. It is also important to document all contact with the school – names, dates and meeting notes as it will be needed if the bullying continues. Check on progress of the plan frequently. Be the most pleasant nuisance you possibly can be until you have resolution.
The school should be accountable for contacting the bully and his parents. Ask the school when the parents are going to be called and inform the school that you will be following up the next day to discuss the resolution. The school should also implement a learning consequence for the bully. Detentions and suspensions don’t work unless there is a learning exercise that goes along with it. An example of a learning exercise might be that the bully needs to do some research and present to the Principal and his/her parents on the tragedy at Columbine High School and how that situation was believed to be caused by acts of bullying.
The schools are busy, so compromise on some things, but never let them forget (in a very diplomatic way); you as the parent/taxpayer or tuition payer and your child have a right to a safe school. Collaborate, be respectful, stay calm, and stay determined! Remember act quickly, act professionally and follow up.
To learn more visit: www.solutionsforbullying.com.
"When Your Child is Being Bullied: Real Solutions for Parents, Educators and Other Professionals." (Vivisphere Publishing) co-authored by J.E. DiMarco and M.K. Newman, is a step-by-step guide offering real solutions and tools to stop the torment of bullying for individual children in acute cases as well as full school-wide programs designed to prevent, identify and remediate