Parents, it is one of your worst fears come true, you suspect your child is being bullied. You see the signs of bullying, you know you want and need to do something to help your child. Do you know what to do?
The first step is to properly document what is happening. Most public schools have hundreds of students and receive dozens of complaints every week. Having a good record of what has been happening helps the school administrators and teachers understand the issues and see the severity of the situation. Keep written records of everything your child reports to you, including names of children involved, where and when it happened, and what specifically happened.
Next ask to meet with your child’s classroom teachers. Begin the conversation with friendly but direct questions, seek to find out what the teacher have observed. Find out if they have:
- Noticed or suspected bullying?
- Noted issues with how your child getting along with others in class?
- Found that your child is being isolated or excluded from playground or other activities with students?
Allow your child’s teachers to explain their observations and any concerns they may have. Once they have helped you see the classroom from their perspective, calmly explain your concerns and observations in a friendly, non-confrontational way. By staying calm and exchanging concerns and observations you are letting the teachers know that you wish to work with them in resolving any issues.
Ask the teacher what he or she thinks of your observations and concerns. You can now ask the teachers what they intend to do to investigate and help to stop the bullying. Work to find a plan that incorporates efforts both at school and at home. Keep notes of all discussions with Teachers and others who work with your child. While speaking with the teachers, make sure to set a follow up appointment to discuss progress.
Next Article: What to do when working with the teachers isn't working, Working with schools to stop bullying, part 2