Anti-School Bullying Guide
Bullying cannot be overlooked by parents, teachers, and caregivers. Bullying is never “for fun,” and it rarely occurs without negatively impacting the targeted child. Beyond the obvious physical harm of bullying, emotional trauma is commonly the most detrimental harm caused by persistent bullying. Relentless bullying diminishes a child’s self-image. In the new age of technology, cyberbullying is prominent. Because a cyberbully’s online presence is literally right in a child’s pocket, the feeling inescapable abuse can be dangerous.
Adults everywhere – from parents to faculty members to babysitters – must all be aware of the signs of bullying. If identified and addressed soon enough, a child may be spared of the more serious consequences of bullying.
What You Should Be Looking For
Top ten telltale “cries for help” a bullied child may exhibit include:
- Attempts to stay home without any cold or flu symptoms
- Complete lack of enthusiasm for school, possibly amounting in fear of going
- Gradual or sudden drop in schoolwork quality or grades
- Insomnia and stories of vivid school-related nightmares
- Negative self-image
- Noticeable increase or decrease in appetite
- Reclusiveness and rejection of friends and family members
- Refusing to take a direct route to or from school
- Repeated unexplained injuries like bruises, scrapes, and cuts
- Uncharacteristic mood swings
Realistically, some of these signs of bullying are not abnormal for the average teenager. If your child or a child you care for is a teenager and exhibiting one or more of these signs of bullying, communicate and otherwise pay close attention to your child to determine if they are being bullied. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and you should seek remedies and take action if you have any reason to be concerned for their wellbeing.
What Can Be Done to Help Stop Bullying
Identifying bullying is only half the effort to stop and prevent further bully abuse. Once you know, or have reason to suspect, that your child or a child care for is being bullied, you must take appropriate action to help. If you are a faculty member of the child’s school, you are legally obligated to exercise your authority and do everything in your power, including getting the attention of other staff members, to stop bullying that is known or should have been known. If you have been given reason to believe the child’s health may be in immediate danger, notifying the authorities first may be necessary.
Steps you can take to address and eliminate bullying are:
- Communicate: Children who are being bullied often want to talk to someone about it but do not know what to say or who to say it to. Encourage open conversations with your child about their life at school, who they like and do not like, and what troubles they are facing. Being a good conversationalist and better listener are powerful initial tools at understanding and preventing bullying.
- Complain: If your child opens up and admits that they are being bullied, make a formal written complaint to bring to the supervisors of their school. After this has been done, there will be no room for the school and its faculty to say that it was unaware of the bullying problem on campus.
- Record: Start detailing your child’s physical wellbeing in a regular journal or record. If your child returns home with a scrape, jot down the date, time, and any details you can get about their day. This can be used in any legal actions later as evidence of the bully’s persistence and the school’s inability or lackadaisical approach to stop it.
- Meet: Most schools these days will have a professional guidance counselor on staff. Set up a meeting with this person to discuss what else needs to be done about bullying. You may even ask that they meet with the bully and their parents.
- Educate: School districts in Boca Raton and around Florida have a code of conduct that will detail how faculty must respond to bullying. Learn it thoroughly to determine if the school is in fact violating its own standards and not doing enough to help.
- Retain: At some point, enough is going to be enough, and you will not be able to wait for the action of the school’s professionals to end the bullying of your child. By retaining the services of a Boca Raton education law attorney, you can file a legal claim against the school, and possibly the bully’s parents, who have not put in a reasonable effort to protect your child from bullying.
Preventing Bullying Before It Begins
Another side of bullying that is often unexplored or unseen: the wellbeing of the bully. In a majority of bullying incidents, the bully has experienced abuse either at home from family members or at school from other students. Not knowing how to react to the mistreatment, the bully holds onto angry and frightened emotions until they lash out and hurt their other classmates, either physically or emotionally. While this is not an excuse for the bully’s behavior or liability, it is often the cause or motivating factor.
If we truly want to stop bullying completely, everyone must genuinely care about the lives and wellbeing of all children in their communities. Look for signs of bullying and abuse in your own children and the children you care for, as well as your friend’s children, your neighbor’s children, and other children in your community. Bullying prevention starts with each of us. Acting together and building a happy, healthy life for our nation’s youth eliminates bullying in our communities.
Do you have more questions about bullying prevention? Do you need a bullying injury attorney to help you file a lawsuit? Please do not hesitate to contact the Shiner Law Group for legal support and guidance. FREE consultations are available.