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Bullying Help: What Are Your Rights as the Parent of a Bullied Child?

 

Bullying help can come from different sources--families, peers and school administrators. If you're the parent of a bully victim, it is important to know what you can do to help your bullied child. Based on the current records of the National Education Association, approximately 160,000 kids skip school every day due to fear of being bullied and intimidated by other students. Telling your child to stop paying attention to the bully will not do any good, as bullies do not just disappear overnight. Find out below how you can help your child overcome bullying. It is important to know what your rights are as a parent of a bullied child.

General Strategies

One of the initial actions you should take as a parent of a bullied child is to ask him about it. Listen intently and do not ignore if he tells you stories about this kid in school that he's scared of. The first time you notice something wrong, report it to school authorities right away. You have the right to ask the school about their anti-bullying policy and be an advocate if the school does not have one yet. You can create a support group at school with other parents of bullied children and work as one in overcoming bullying problems at your child's school.

Know the Different Forms of Bullying

Bullying, in the broadest sense, is when an individual is regularly cruel to another individual. Different forms include physical, verbal, psychological, racial and sexual bullying. As a parent of a bullied child, you have the right to know these different bullying forms.

Physical bullying includes shoving, hitting and/or kicking. Sarcasm, harassment, intimidation and ridicule can be categorized under verbal bullying. Jokes, racial taunts and gestures are forms of racial bullying, while humiliating and socially isolating your child fall under psychological bullying. Homophobic abuse, unsolicited sexual comments and unwanted physical contact are forms of sexual bullying.

What to Ask Your Child

After you've determined and confirmed that your child is being bullied, ask him the details of the bullying episode. This includes questions such as:

  • When did it happen?
  • How did it start? 
  • How many times have it occurred? Where?
  • Were there witnesses? How many were involved?
  • Are there other children who are bullied, too?

On the Issue of Suing

Suing the school district for not taking appropriate action should be your last resort. Lawsuits are very complex and take a long time; it should be considered an option when all options are already tried and exhausted. You can sue if the school district has failed to take action and if the school officials knew all along or should have known that failure to take action will subject the child to unsolicited harm.

What the School Should Do

You have the right to demand from the school to review their bullying policies and identify the children who are being bullied and the bullies as well. The school also needs to provide protection and support to the bullied children and establish clear rules on bullying issues. You can even request for figures that will help determine how widespread bullying is at your child's school.

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