Bullying in Schools: Is My Child A Victim?
Recognizing the Signs; School Safety
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April 17, 2007

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 387
Subscribers: 47,383

 More From Wrightslaw

Discipline & Positive Behavioral Support




Restraints & Abuse



Yellow Pages for Kids

No Child Left Behind


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 Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043



Copyright © 2007, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

Pete and Pam Wright live in Virginia. Many of our friends attended Virginia Tech in the beautiful town of Blacksburg. This tragedy is a terrible, life-changing experience for the families and friends of the victims, and for the survivors. In this time of overwhelming grief, please send your thoughts and prayers to these families.


This issue focuses on bullying and school safety. Is your child a victim of bullying? Is your child a bully? Learn the signs that will help you identify potential problem situations.


The Special Ed Advocate is the only weekly e-zine with up-to-date, accurate information about special education law and advocacy, cases, tactics and strategies. Sign up free today!

In This Issue:
Bullying in Schools: What Can I Do If My Child Is Being Harassed At School?
The Role of Positive Behavior Support
Victimization: What About the Child Who Can't Verbalize Fear or Pain?
National School Safety Center - Highly Recommended Resource
School Violence Statistics
Last Week's Poll Results: Homework

Bullying in Schools: What Can I Do If My Child Is Being Harassed At School?
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."

What can kids do? Kids can talk to friends and those in authority to learn ways to cope with and quash bullying. A free e-book, called The Bully, is available online for kids (and parents) who want to learn the signs of bullying and positive ways to cope with their feelings.

What can parents do? Parental interest, support and involvement are key to effective school safety. If your child is being victimized at school, it may become necessary for you to advocate on behalf of your child to help 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, if your child is the bully, helping your child stop bullying.

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

What can schools do? Download and read "Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime: A Guide for Schools." Many children experience sexual, racial and ethnic harassment at 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 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, 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.

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.

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The Role of Positive Behavior Support
Positive Behavioral Support (PBS), when strategically and appropriately implemented, can help students with a wide range of needs and at all age levels. It can be used on an individual, school-wide or district-wide basis.  Through the use of PBS, schools can establish and maintain effective school environments that maximize academic achievement and behavioral competence. The following websites provide in-depth information on PBS:

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Victimization: What About The Child Who Can't Verbalize Fear or Pain?

How do you protect a child who can't verbalize pain or fear in a way that we can understand?

"Dear Michaels mom...I love you so much...you are the best mother ever. Love Michael" - Michael Igafo-Te'o, Age 9, August 2003

Those words are from the only letter that my son (now 12 years old) has ever written to me. Before that time, he had never expressed emotion in such a candid way. When he was an infant, he rarely craved affection. As he grew, he would struggle when we tried to hug him or get close to him. His eyes would never meet ours. There were times when I remember feeling so much loss. I grieved for my son. Does my son love me? Does he even know what love is? These questions were often swimming around inside my head. Will he ever want to give me a hug or kiss without being forced?

As Michael grew, his need for affection and his ability to show affection grew. At age 6, he started lining up his “friends” on the window sills around the house. He fed them, rocked them, bought clothes for them, and talked to them. On occasion, I even heard him say “I love you” to his stuffed companions.

Eventually, Michael started coming up to us offering kisses and hugs. We saw these gestures of affection as long awaited gifts from our son. He had learned to express the emotions that he’d long felt inside.

So how do you know if your child is being abused? Sometimes you do not know.  That is why you must remain vigilant.  One morning, my son drew a horrifying picture of himself inside a box without windows. It was only then that I realized that my son was being abused.  He felt the pain but could not verbalize it. His only means of communicating the pain was in his drawings.

People with disabilities have the same full array of feelings that we all have - - whether it be of love, pain, anguish, joy, fear - - it is there...sometimes it is just locked up inside. It can be difficult for some to know how to express these feelings to others.

Through modeling of appropriate and acceptable use of emotion, everyone can learn to show these feelings that have long been locked inside. We do not need to teach them to love. They have known how to love all along. We just didn’t know how to interpret the signals.

Once we take the time to interpret those signals, we will be able to understand the emotions that our loved ones are feeling.

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National School Safety Center - Highly Recommended Resource
The National School Safety Center offers a wealth of downloadable fact sheets on topics such as Bullying, Creating Safe Schools, Readiness, Schools & Terrorism, and information on Safe Schools Week, which will take place in October 2007.

For more information from the National School Safety Center, visit them online at http://www.schoolsafety.us/.

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School Violence Statistics
According to a survey conducted by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, "the rate of serious violent crime––rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault –– at the nation's schools fell from six victimizations per 1,000 students in 2003 to four per 1,000 in 2004."

Despite the survey results, violence continues to be a constant occurrence in our nation's schools. 

To learn more about what the statistics say, view any or all of the following reports related to school violence:

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Last Week's Poll Results
Last week, we asked: On average, how much time does your child spend on homework each night?

Of the 603 responses that we received, it is clear that the amount of homework brought home each evening varies greatly from child to child. Surprisingly, one-quarter (25%) of respondents indicated that their child works for more than 2 hours each night on homework assignments.

  • 15% indicated that their child does not usually have any homework.
  • 8% indicated that their child works on less than 15 minutes worth of homework each evening.
  • 12% indicated around 30 minutes per evening.
  • 20% indicated somewhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour each evening.
  • 20% indicated somewhere between 1 hour to 2 hours each evening.
  • 25% of you indicated that your child works for more than 2 hours on homework each evening.

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We are scheduling programs for 2007 and 2008. If you are interested in bringing a Wrightslaw program to your community, please read our Conference Information page.

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What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

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Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

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