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SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS
WHEN DEALING WITH BULLYING

By Brenda High, Founder and Co-Director of Bully Police USA

Note: This is a synopsis of one article in The Bully Police E-book Part II: Advice for Parents/Advice for Kids in dealing with bullying; an extensive 146 page PDF file that answers questions and gives solutions to bullying problems.  This E-book is purposely priced at $4.95 so that it can be easily affordable by anyone.  See the ordering info below.

STOP THE BULLYING!
The Parent's & Kids
Part II - E-Book
Only $4.95.

I know how parents feel when they realize their child has been bullied at school.  In your mind, you want to immediately run down to your child's school, grab some Administrator or Teacher by the throat, and yell at him/her.  However, stay calm and think about how your child is feeling.  They probably did not want to come to you and tell you about the bullying because they believe that if you say or do something about it, the bullying might get worse.  Sometimes they are right in their fears, but if your complaint process is handled right, more often than not, the bullying will stop. 

Get the story of the bullying as correct as possible from your child 
Listen to your child with your heart and mind.  Let your child know they have done the right thing by coming to talk to you and that you will find a way to help solve this problem.  Get your child's ideas on what they think is the best action to take.  Ask for their cooperation if there needs to be minor changes on their part, (i.e. a few changes in behavior, dress, or social skills). 

Think about how you will approach the school 
If the school has no knowledge that your child being bullied, then it is fair to give the school a reasonable amount of time to work out minor problems for your child's and to your satisfaction. 

Remind your school that every day your child is being bullied is like an eternity to him/her and your child wants the bullying to stop. 

Document everything! 
Pretend you are a lawyer and put EVERYTHING in writing. Tape record statements, type them up and have witnesses sign the statements.  Take pictures of injuries, places, people, etc. 

Enough cannot be said about documentation. Getting the dates, times, locations, and names, not only of the bullying incidents, but also those you talked to at the school. 

Make Copies of your journal of bullying - give a copy your parents, witnesses, the school principal, each member of the school board and the school district superintendent.  If you feel your story needs to be told publicly, present it at the next school board meeting. 

After communicating with an administrator, write a recap of what was said.  Fax a copy to the administrator and ask them to correct or change what is incorrect or a misunderstanding.

Online Bullying or Cyberbullying 
If your child is being bullied, either online, through written notes, phone, or in person, document EVERYTHING. Online - Save all emails or IM's conversations. Written - Save them, do NOT throw them away. Phone - Try to get the verbal bullying on your answering machine or on tape. If you have caller ID, take a picture of the number on caller-ID.

If your son or daughter is getting threatening email, your local police department may be able to help or lead you to a private investigator with computer skills.  If the emails are terrorist type threats, report this immediately to the police, who will then report it to the F.B.I. 

Parents sign a service agreement when they sign up for internet services 
Here are some examples of service agreements with internet providers and/or hosts to websites, (i.e. AOL, MSN, XO, Earthlink, etc.) 

WebPages - By applying to register a domain name, or by asking us to maintain or renew a domain name registration, you hereby represent and warrant to us that (a) the statements that you made in connection with such application for registration, maintenance, or renewal are complete and accurate; (b) to your knowledge, the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party; (c) you are not registering the domain name for an unlawful purpose; and (d) you will not knowingly use the domain name in violation of any applicable laws or regulations. You agree and acknowledge that it is your responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights... 

YOU REPRESENT THAT, TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF, NEITHER THE REGISTRATION OF THE DOMAIN NAME YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR NOR THE MANNER IN WHICH IT IS INTENDED TO BE OR IS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY USED INFRINGES THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF A THIRD PARTY. 

How law enforcement can get your information - …may disclose personal information about Visitors or Members, or information regarding your use of the Services or Web sites accessible through our Services, for any reason if, in our sole discretion, we believe that it is reasonable to do so, including: to satisfy laws, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, regulations, or governmental or legal requests for such information; to disclose information that is necessary to identify, contact, or bring legal action against someone who may be violating our Acceptable Use Policy or other user policies; to operate the Services properly; or to protect our Members. 

The parents of students who are doing the bullying may be liable for the emotional damages caused by their child to another child.  If the cyberbullys’ parents know what is going on (or had received a letter of complaint), they have “knowledge and notice” of harmful activity. 

Inform your school administrators about the cyberbullying your child is experiencing.  If cyberbullying happens on school time or with school computers, schools come under the “knowledge and notice” rule. 

Written Notes – Phone bullies 
If your child is being bullied by written notes, phone, or in person, document EVERYTHING. 

Save all written notes, even if they are not technically bullying.  Do NOT throw them away as they can be used to identify a bullying pattern or possibly identify handwriting. 

Some bullying must require immediate and swift action 
It is not the job of school administrators or teachers to act as police officers when a serious bullying incident occurs.  In cases of a major harassment situation such as a physical or sexual assault, call the police immediately.  Age is not an issue, as 6-year-old’s have been known to bring guns to school and/or violently bully.  (A 6-year-old boy shot and killed a classmate a few years ago in Florida.) 

Serious offenses must be handled by the police and entered on the abuser or perpetrator's police record or Juvenile Record.  School Administrators can take some actions against bullies and perpetrator(s) but they are not police officers and they open themselves up to lawsuits when they fail to report this type of violent bullying. 

Its time to spill the beans 
There are countless stories of life threatening injuries bullied children and teens have suffered without the parent or school even knowing about the bullying.  A child may feel that if a parent intervenes the bullying will get worse.  They think they can be quiet and endure bullying/abuse for the short run thinking things will change, but doing nothing ensures that nothing will change. 

What to do when the administrators or teachers will not help 
Once in awhile, sadly, administrators and/or teachers will not stop the bullying.  They may give many excuses but the number one excuse is that they lack time and resources to deal with just one child, that they have too many students to worry about one child being bullying.  “Let them figure it out by themselves,”  “Its part of growing up,” or “Boys will be boys” is still the attitude of many uneducated school personnel. 

Now the parent has to go on a “mission” to save their child.  Here are some things a parent can do to bring awareness to the school. 

  • Write a letter to the Principal of the school.  Write a letter to the Principal after each incident of harassment. (Keep a copy in your file)
  • • Write letters to School Board Members.  Write letters to Board members separately and after each incident of harassment.  (Keep a copy in your file)
  • • Write a letter to the Superintendent.  Write a letter to the Superintendent after each incident of harassment.  (Keep a copy in your file)
  • • Go to School Board meeting and speak out.  It is not just your child that you are thinking about, but also all the other children who are harassed and have parents who will not, or do not know how, to speak for them. 
  • • Write multiple letters to your State Representatives (The State Senate and House Education Committee).  Tell them what is happening in your school and how your Administrators are handling your child's case.
  • • Write a letter to each member of the Education Committee separately and after each incident of harassment.  (See the BullyPolice.org website to see if your laws, policies or codes are listed)
  • • Write a letter to the Editor of your local newspaper.  Do not embarrass your child with details, but write instead about your schools lack of response for harassed students in general.
  • • Consider going to the television stations.  Bullying can be very dangerous and taxpayers have a RIGHT to know what is going on in their local schools.  Voters also have a right to know what their candidates for the school board believe and if they will support and vote for good common sense anti bullying policies. 
There is strength in numbers
Try to find out the names of other families within your child's school who are experiencing similar bullying and harassment issues. As a group, you can have even a stronger voice for change and action. 

Bullying is an adult problem 
Do not let anyone, (Administrators, teachers, etc), try to put the blame of bullying on your child, a victim of the bully.  The blame is always on the bully and the reason for the bullying is that adults allow it to happen.  Bullies bully because they can, and because they can get away with it.  Adults let bullies get away with bullying and when adults choose to do something to stop the bullying, it will stop. 

Tell administrators that you will discuss your child's problems when they have stopped the bullying. 

When to call an attorney 
If you have not been satisfied with the response you have received from School Administrators within a reasonable period, then hire an Attorney.  If this is a case of a major harassment situation, such as a physical or sexual assault, call an Attorney within 24 hours.  DO NOT let your school become your attorney!  They have already proven that they do not have your child's best interest in mind or they would have solved the bullying problem.  They are not the parents of your child and they do not love your child as you do.  Armed with your documented evidence, and your repeated requests for help, you will find that the schools will take responsibility for their actions, or they will pay for their incompetence in court. 

ANTI BULLYING LAWS
Check out www.bullypolice.org to see if your state has an anti bullying law.  Give a copy of your state law to School District Administrators and tell them it is their responsibility to obey the law by enacting strong policies to stop bullying in their schools.

In the aftermath – how to help your child heal 
Keep listening and communicating with your child.  Ask them questions about how they are doing in school, like, “Did you play with anyone on the playground today?” or “Did you sit with anyone at lunch today”.  You are checking to see if your child is spending any time with friends.  A lonely child is at great risk for depression.  Continue to ask your child about the bullying and whether the situation has improved. 

Consider getting your child in to see a Counselor or Therapist.  Check with the school district to see if they have any qualified counselors, who have dealt with bullying and the conditions it may cause, like depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders.  Follow up with the school. 

See who else in your area has children going through bullying or have children who have dealt with bullying. A positive and proactive approach would be to work with your school district to get a quality anti bullying program into your local schools.  This can also be a “healing” activity, to take away the anger that victims of bullying harbor inside.  Get creative - Bullying decreases when students, parents and child activists show their numbers, demanding positive changes inside their schools. 

Stay united as a family 
Remember that you are not alone. There are a good number of us out there experiencing the same thing. Have a game plan in mind including removing your child from the school, home schooling, requesting that the school provide a tutor, etc. These are often hard decisions to make, but they may be the only options available as you work at resolving the problem. 

Its time that every school in America has a clear direction, by common sense laws, to stop the hurt and pain that goes on every day in a place where our children should feel safe and secure.   It only takes one voice to make a difference. 
 

This article is the intellectual property of Brenda High, Director, Bully Police USA and may be used for educational purposes without permission.  Please credit Brenda High & www.bullypolice.org

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About Brenda High,
Founder and
Co-Director of
Bully Police USA
BPUSA Webmaster

Contacting Brenda
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Brenda's Websites:
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HeroesintheCrowd.com
TheWoundedChild.org 


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