Bullying, Discipline, & Confidentiality: Who’s the Victim?

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A special education teacher asked a question about a student’s right to confidentiality after being disciplined by the school.

It is a good example of how changing the facts in a particular situation can give you a clearer perspective on the issue.

“…a child with disabilities was a victim of bullies. How much is too much information to share with another parent regarding other students..before turning the bullies into victims?”

Here’s the complete scenario:

We had a situation this year with a child with disabilities who was a victim of bullies. The bullies faced consequences including parents being called.

The parent of the child with disabilities wanted to know who the bullies were, what consequences were given, and what the meeting entailed with the parents of the bullies. Is this allowed? It felt like the bullies were now being turned into victims.

We have a clear and zero policy in our school regarding bullies. I was satisfied with the consequences given. How much is too much information to share with another parent regarding other students?

Let’s change the facts in this case. The child with disabilities who was bullied is your child. What’s your perspective, now?

  • It is your child who attended a summer camp and was severely beaten up and hospitalized by another camper.

Camp officials decline to release info about the aggressor and what steps, if any, were taken.

What is your position as the parent?

Change the facts again:

  • Your child attends a private school and was assaulted by another child at the school and is now in the hospital.

You want to press charges against the aggressor, but the private school cites confidentiality and refuses to release any information about the aggressor, including his identity.

Change the facts again:

  • Your child was assaulted at the local mall and local mall security were involved.

Should you be notified?

In those scenarios and with a public school, when any entity refuses to release information to a parent, what does the parent automatically assume? They assume that the other child is being protected, despite being the bully.

Parents have a right to know who did what to their child and what steps, if any, the school took to prevent a repetition of it. Anything less is viewed as a cover-up and opens school up to the appearance of a policy of “doing nothing” to protect children from bullies.

In Bullying, Confidentiality, & the Parents’ Need to Know, Pete and Pam answer questions about confidentiality and the parents’ need to have information about their child. Pam suggests a strategy to help the teacher understand the parent’s perceptions, concerns, and fears.

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159 Comments on "Bullying, Discipline, & Confidentiality: Who’s the Victim?"

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In high school, my younger brother, and myself to a slightly more involved extent, were bullied by a group of older students (one of whom was, and i am not joking, over six feet tall, and was round enough that he needed to get on the bus from the rear emergency exit, as he was completely incapable of fitting through the normal door)

At one point, the large boy i mentioned, choked me unconscious, in front of a dozen students, a teacher who was 10 feet away (but saw and heard nothing) and a security Camera that mysteriously wasnt working during the 3.5 minutes i was being choked. When this bully punched my brother, i ‘flipped my lid’ and smashed him over the head with my backpack. I was suspended for 3 weeks. The bully, for 2 days.

Can the principal of a school give your address and name to another child’s parents

No. Why would they be doing that?

My son has been bullied on and off all school year by the same boy. I have went to the principal and the teachers the first couple of times. There was nothing that I seen that was done about it. The Bullying only got worse. And when I was going to go and talk to them again my son beg me not to because it only made the matter worse and the bullying was worse. So Yesterday May 7th 2018 my son was in the car rider line and this same little boy slap him across his face

You need to learn what the district rules are regarding investigating reports of bullying, and what they must report to the parent. Your state parent training and information center can provide you information on the state rules. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

My son is in high school…they were working on a project that consisted of Popsicle sticks and hot glue…student 1 put hot glue on another student 2 arm… student 2 put hot glue on a stick and put it on student 1 neck and ripped it off,pulling the skin off…my son decided to put hot glue on a stick and put it on another student…this happened in the same class within 5-10 minutes apart…students 1 and 2 got 3 days Inn School Suspension and my son got 4 days suspension and charged with assault by the officer on duty…I am very confused about the discipline all 3 students received…Please hep me understand!

Kat even I am confused by why your son got four days suspension and an assault charge. What I would do is request a meeting with the principal, yourself, your son, the officer on duty and perhaps the classroom teacher. You need to get to the bottom of what is going on. I am curious about the assault charge how did that come about?

My son has to be in his school it was ordered by a judge because of our cps we will be off but after star testing ….my son says he feels he failed reading test cause kids in class picking on him ….teacher is also making example of my son to class if he late or homework or anything really…my son just wants to keep the hitting inside he does not want me knowing or talking to anyone for fear of retaliation ike always and hes just hurting i hurting cps wont help casa wont help his aid litem wont help what do i do except keep documenting and recording phone calls and meetings and writing my own plans to see him through and give copies to everyone

Are you in Texas?

My 8 year old daughter was held against a slide by 2 boys, one of which was standing on her arm the other who was holding her legs straight preventing her from moving. Meanwhile another boy was punching her. I was informed of what happened by my daughters teacher after they went to the assistant principals office. After the teacher contacted me we went to the school and confronted the principal and assistant principal. The assistant principal insisted that it was an accident and that my daughter said it was an accident. My daughter and the teacher have confirmed the assistant principal was lying to us and that she knew the full story prior to our arrival, yet insisted that nothing had happened. This happened yesterday. So far today my daughter has been questioned twice by herself.

You can try to file charges with the police against the boys. You can also use the district complaint process to take this matter up “the chain of command.” Your state parent training & information center may be able to provide you with some information & suggestions. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center