It seems that bullying is in the news every day now. With the rise of bullying, there has also been a rise in teen suicides – especially with gay teens. The following links provide various resources for addressing bullying at home, in the classroom, and at church.
If you are being bullied
If you are being bullied, the first thing you need to do is tell someone. Whether it is a teacher, a principal, a counselor, or a parent, you must tell an adult about what is going on. Being bullied is a serious offense and action needs to take place. Telling someone might be a hard step to take, but it is one that needs to be taken in order for you to get help. You do not deserve to be bullied – in public or in private. Get help. Say something.
Likewise, if you are a friend of someone who is being bullied, the same applies to you: tell someone! This is not something to joke about or dismiss, especially given the recent rise in suicides from youth who are bullied.
Types of Bullying
- Physical (hitting, kicking, pushing, beating, etc)
- Verbal (gossip, threats, name calling, etc)
- Social (shunning others)
- Teens also face cyberbullying thru text messages and social media.
- Myth: “Bullying is just a stage, a normal part of life. I went through it my kids will too.”
- Fact: Bullying is not “normal” or socially acceptable behavior. We give bullies power by our acceptance of this behavior.
- Myth: “If I tell someone, it will just make it worse.”
- Fact: Research shows that bullying will stop when adults in authority and peers get involved.
- Myth: “Just stand up for yourself and hit them back”
- Fact: While there are some times when people can be forced to defend themselves, hitting back usually makes the bullying worse and increases the risk for serious physical harm.
- Myth: “Bullying is a school problem, the teachers should handle it”
- Fact: Bullying is a broader social problem that often happens outside of schools, on the street, at shopping centers, the local pool, summer camp and in the adult workplace.
- Myth: “People are born bullies”
- Fact: Bullying is a learned behavior and behaviors can be changed.
- Profile of a bully
- Warning Signs of being bullied
- Misconceptions of bullying
- Bullying through Text / Social Media, and Dealing with cyberbullying
- Talking with your child about bullying
- The Bystanders of bullying
- Resolving bullying conflict
Lessons on Addressing Bullying
- Christians and Bullying
- Bullying Role Play
- The Freshman Lunchroom (skit)
- The Golden Rule and Civil Rights
- The Golden Rule Pledge (held in April)
Parents Addressing Bullying at School
It is important that parents approach this situation in a calm manner and that parents keep records of facts in the situation. It is helpful if parents and school staff work together to resolve the issue. Parents can use the following steps to resolve the issue.
I. Work With Your Child
Thank your child for telling you. Tell your child that the bullying is not his or her fault. Talk with your child about the specifics of the situation and ask:
- Who is doing the bullying?
- What happened? Was it
- Verbal bullying?
- Physical bullying?
- Cyberbullying? (Meet directly with the principal if this is the case.)
- What days and times were you bullied?
- Where did the bullying take place?
Also find out how your child responded to the bullying and if other children or adults might have observed the bullying. Does your child know the names of these people?
Practice possible ways for your child to respond to bullying. PACER offers a “Student Action Plan” that walk through potential action steps.
Tell a school staff (teacher, principal, other staff).
Go to step two if needed.
II. Work With The School
Meet with your child’s teacher:
- Discuss what is happening to your child using information from Step One.
- Ask what can be done so your child feels safe at school.
Keep a written record of what happened at this meeting, including names and dates.
Make an appointment to meet with the principal to discuss the bullying situation:
- Share information from Step One.
- Mention your work with your child regarding the situation.
Share the outcome of your meeting with the teacher.
- Mention how the situation is impacting your child
- Does not want to come to school o Is fearful he or she will be hurt
- Complains of stomach aches, headaches, etc.
- Has other new behavior as a result of bullying
Ask if school has a written policy on bullying and harassment. If so, ask for a written copy.
Ask what the school can do to keep your child safe at school, on school bus, etc.
Go to step three if needed.
III. Work With District Administration
Write a letter or send an email to district superintendent requesting a meeting to discuss the situation. Include name of child, age, grade, school, your address and phone number, background information of the bullying situation and how you have tried to resolve it.
This letter should be as brief and factual as possible. Include the times you are available for this meeting. Send copies of this letter to the principal, special education director (if child is receiving special education) and chair of the school board. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.
Prepare for this meeting by organizing the information you have kept and the questions you want to ask. Remember to ask what can be done to keep your child safe in school so he/she can learn.
Decide if you want to take someone with you. Clarify their role (e.g., take notes, provide support, contribute information about your child). Be sure to keep a written record of this meeting, including who was present, what was discussed and any decisions that were made.
If after taking these three steps, the bullying issue has not been resolved, you may wish to contact a parent center or advocacy organization for assistance.
*Email is an acceptable way of contacting persons.