Creating an effective plan of action to find a solution to your child’s bully problem at school is nearly impossible without some level of involvement by your child’s teacher, the principal, and other members of the school staff.
Unfortunately, many parents are very reluctant to make the school aware of this type of problem until serious mental or physical damage has been done to the victimized child. The reasons for this may include incorrect perceptions such as:
-the school will not take my complaint seriously
-teachers are too busy to watch out for my child
-distrust of the school system
-the teacher doesn’t like my child
-involving the school will only make things worse for my child.
Sometimes parents would involve the school except they are unsure of who to talk to or what procedure to follow to get things moving. The following action steps are intended to help clarify this situation for parents.
Action Step #1: Speak To The Teacher
Upon hearing that your child is being bullied at school, contact your child’s teacher(s) about this problem. They need to know what has happened so they can take the necessary action to monitor the situation and prevent any further incidents. Sure, we teachers are busy, but the well-being and protection of our students is at the top of our list! It is irrelevant how the teacher feels about your child as a person, the bottom line here is that “no child deserves to be bullied”.
Action Step #2: Speak To The Principal
Find out what the school policy is on bullying and if possible, ask for a copy of the document so that you have something in writing. As your child’s advocate, it is important that you know what commitments the school has to keeping your child safe. Often school policy is part of a School District policy towards unacceptable behavior. Ask if the district has a “zero-tolerance” towards bullying. If not, then find out why, as most school districts do promote this now.
Action Step #3: Create Action Plan
Now that hopefully everyone involved is on the “same page”, it is vital that you work together with the school (your child’s teacher(s), the principal, supervisory staff, etc.) to create an action plan to stop the bullying of your child immediately, then finding ways to prevent it from happening again. This plan of action needs to be in writing and must state the responsibilities of all parties involved, signed by all parties, along with a time line and updates. Otherwise it is too easy for the plan to fall apart when new situations at the school arise or people get busy and forget about protecting your child.
Action Step #4: Stay The Course
If for some reason you find that the school is not keeping up with their parts of the action plan that was agreed to in writing, feel free to remind the principal. After a reasonable time, if nothing is still being done as promised, then send a copy of the signed action plan to the School Board and School Superintendent, outlining your concerns.
Action Step #5: Empower Yourself
Believe it or not, the fact that you are reading this article, means that you are on the road to empowering yourself to help solve your child’s bullying problem and taking steps to prevent such a problem in the future.
Most parents have access to a computer and the Internet at home, the library, etc., which means there is no reason today for a parent to feel confused or helpless about what to do if their child is being targeted. The Internet is swamped with websites containing information and tips, offering both free resources and materials for sale.
Your child’s safety and well-being is threatened, so what could be more motivating for you, the parent, than to take the time necessary to find possible solutions to this problem?