UpsetMommy , Parent asks:

My 3rd grader has been bullied for months. School is not doing anything about it. Should pressing charges on the bully be the best solution?

In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago



May 26, 2009
Subscribe to Expert

What the Expert Says:

Dear UpsetMommy,

I am very sorry to hear that your son is going through such a difficult and stressful situation. As you most likely know, the consequences of bullying are severe, including increases in sadness, anxiety, acting out, and missed school among students who are bullied. Therefore, it is critical that we put an end to your son's situation.

Does your son's school have a bullying policy? If so, it is important to press them on reinforcing it. If they do not, you might consider championing this effort. The policy should include explicit details on what kind of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable. In addition, it should state clearly what the school will do to protect children from bullying, including the consequences for bullying. Some reasonable requests: The adults on campus should be aware of when the bullying occurs, and they should be positioned nearby during the times when your son is most vulnerable. They should be educated and prepared to act, immediately breaking up the students and implementing consequences for the bully. Your son may wish to have a "buddy" with him during vulnerable times, as well. Do not settle for a mediated meeting with your son and his bully. Research has shown that these kinds of meetings do not work because bullying involves an imbalance of power (your son as the victim) and those kinds of meetings are only useful for individuals who share an equal amount of influence and power.

If the school administrators are unable or unwilling to act on these issues, you should go to the school district office and/or school board next. Demand that they take the situation seriously and make changes (it is their responsibility to keep your son safe while he is on school grounds). If they do not, inform them that you will approach law enforcement, and write letters to the local newspaper, discussing your struggle to develop a coherent bullying policy at your son's school.

I recommend trying a few more strategies before going to law enforcement, but I believe that this is a viable option.

Good luck!

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist
Did you find this answer useful?
Jun 12, 2009

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Wow! What action have you taken up to this point? As a former teacher, now author, I talk to parents about bullying regularly. I will enclose a few resource web sites with articles I have written on bullying. Beyond the articles though my first suggestion is to meet with the principal and teacher at your child's school. Attempt to identify exactly when the bullying behavior is taking place and a plan for bringing it to an end. If your child has been threatened or physicall injured you can file a police report. Filing a report creates a written record of the incident that can be used if bullying should occur in the future and the school has not taken action to remove the bully or end the bullying behavior. Although this may seem like an extreme course of action, the thought of your child living in fear on a daily basis is far worse.

Joe Bruzzese
Did you find this answer useful?

Additional Answers (1)

Answer this question


You are about to choose ${username}'s answer as the best answer.

Cancel | Continue

*You can change the best answer in the future if you think that you received a better answer

How likely are you to recommend to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely