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Bullying in Schools:
What Can I Do If My Child Is Being Harassed or Bullied?
by Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o, Bridges4Kids

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Who are the victims of bullying?

According to ASAP: A School-based Anti-Violence Program, victims tend to be "loners who tend to cry easily, lack self-defense skills, aren't able to use humor in conflict situations or who don't think quickly on their feet.

Children who have few friends are always easy prey for bullies. It's easier to pick on a lone child without witnesses. Children who have special needs are also common victims for bullies."

Perhaps the child:

  • Has a disability
  • Has a stammer
  • Is bad at sports
  • Is new to the district
  • Has a different religion or belief
  • Wears different clothes
  • Has a different accent
  • Has a different nationality or color
  • Has an ear that sticks out

Dynamics of bully-victim situations

  • A power differential exists between the bully and the victim
  • Bullies tend to confident, aggressive, and lack empathy for the victim
  • Bullies come from homes where there is poor supervision, and modeling of and tolerance for aggressive behavior
  • Victims tend to be quiet, passive children with few friends
  • Victims do not respond effectively to aggressive actions
  • Bullying is often done so that adults are not aware of it
  • Victims are ashamed, and often don't tell an adult. (Source: ASAP: A School-based Anti-Violence Program)

How Can We Help Children Who Are Being Bullied or Harassed?

What can parents do?

Parental interest, support and involvement are key to effective school safety. If your child is being victimized at school, you need to advocate on your child's behalf to resolve the problem.

Bullying and Your Child
, a comprehensive article from KidsHealth, describes different types of bullying, why kids bully, signs that your child is being bullied, how to help if your child is being bullied, signs that your child is a bully, and how to help your child stop bullying.

What can teachers do?

Teachers are role models for their students. Teachers also have power and authority because when they observe bullying, they can take action to stop the behavior on the spot. If teachers observe bullying and do not take action to protect the victim, they have given the bully implicit permission to continue.

Preventing Classroom Bullying: What Teachers Can Do
(PDF) is a free, downloadable booklet of tips that educators can use to confront bullies about their negative behavior, provide support and encouragement to victims of bullying, energize student bystanders to help the victim during incidents, and make locations throughout the school safer.

What can kids Do?

Kids can talk to friends and those in authority to learn ways to cope with and quash bullying. Download the free e-book, The Bully, that will help kids and parents learn the signs of bullying and positive ways to deal with these situations.

What can schools do?

If you are a school leader - an administrator, principal, superintendent, or school board member - you are responsible for the culture and climate in your schools. Download and read Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime: A Guide for Schools. Unfortunately, many children experience sexual, racial and ethnic harassment at school. The fact that these incidents are often ignored or minimized by school personnel leads many of these students to drop out of school.

Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools
provides guidance about protecting students from harassment and violence based on race, sex, and disability. This guide was published by the U. S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the National Association of Attorneys General and is endorsed by the National School Boards Association.

Topics addressed in this comprehensive, step-by-step manual include:

  • Developing the District's Written Anti-Harassment Policy
  • Identifying and Responding to Incidents of Harassment
  • Formal Complaint / Grievance Procedures
  • Creating a School Climate that Supports Racial, Cultural, and other Forms of Diversity
  • Addressing Hate Crimes & Conflicts in School and the Community

Tip: If your child has been bullied or harassed at school, make copies of Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools for the decision-makers in your school district - the special ed director, superintendent, principal, and school board members. Yes, making copies is expensive. But copying costs are a drop in the bucket when compared to the costs of repairing and healing the damage to your child.

Recommended Websites

Bridges4Kids - This site includes a comprehensive list of articles, resources, free publications, and websites about school climate and bullying, school violence & zero tolerance, character education, discipline and much more.

No Disposable Kids (NDK) - A nationally recognized training program designed to help educators create and maintain a healthy school environment for students and for staff. Bullying. Racism. Violence. NDK gives you the tools - and the know-how - to face and overcome these hot-button issues. Teachers, students, staff, even bus drivers will learn practical, prevention-oriented strategies that create safe, productive environments for learning and working.

Discipline without Stress, Punishments or Rewards - How Leaders, Teachers, and Parents Promote Responsibility. Marvin Marshall details his Raise Responsibility System - a simple and amazingly effective approach that promotes responsibility, self-discipline, and learning.

Stop Bullying Now! Practical research-based strategies to reduce bullying in schools.

More Free Publications

You can download dozens of free publications on a variety of topics - IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, children's mental health, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention and social promotion, and discipline from our Free Pubs Page.

Meet Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o

Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o and Deborah K. Canja founded Bridges4Kids in 2002. They realized the need for a comprehensive system of support on the web for ALL children. "We know first-hand the struggles that parents face. We've been there."

Jackie Igafo-Te'o currently serves as webmaster for Bridges4Kids, and as an Independent Consultant working with several disability-related organizations in the U.S. She moderates a large online support group for families living with autism at Yahoo!Groups called "autism-michigan". She currently resides in Michigan with her husband and their three children. Their oldest child wrote a book about his life and how he deals with his ADHD. Their youngest child wrote a book to express her feelings on being a sibling. Their middle child is a talented artist and animator who was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3; he illustrated both books. In November 2009, the kids starred in an interstitial on Disney Channel titled "The Time I Realized My Brother Was Different"..

Created: 04/17/07
Revised: 10/24/11

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