Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fight back against bullying:

Being bullied in school is one of the most demoralizing experiences your child can face. The two main reasons children are bullied is for their appearance or social status. They don't conform to some social "norm," maybe because of how they act, look, or their sexual orientation. It can lead to victimization, low self-esteem, a kid becoming increasingly withdrawn; some even attempt suicide.

What can a parent do? The law is on your side. After the Columbine shooting in 1999, which was believed to have been the result of schoolyard bullying, 44 states expressly banned it.

Report the behavior to teachers and the school principal immediately. Make sure to document times, witnesses, and places where your child was bullied. You'll wanna report the instance (or instances, including verbal abuse) as well as send a written report (for your personal records) to the teacher and the principal.

If your child's teacher and principal don't take action against the bully within a reasonable time, report the bullying to the school district superintendent in writing. In your letter, outline all instances of bullying and include any other documentation (such as photos) to help prove the bullying exists. If the school district fails to act, they can be liable for your child’s injury as a result of the school bullying.

If your child has been physically assaulted, call the police right away. If your child suffered any physical injuries from the bullying, take pictures as evidence and have your child write a detailed description of what happened to insure accuracy. Depending on the severity of the physical assault, the bully may end up in juvenile detention. The police also have the power to administer a restraining order against the bully that keeps him a safe distance away from your child. And yes, experienced personal injury attorneys are available to help you if you have to take it that far.

Keep in mind: The bully might be a victim, too. They may be learning their behavior from their parents, or maybe the parents are getting divorced, which is a trying time for most kids. Or worse, the child himself is being abused at home. You just don't know.

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