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My 6th grader is being bullied, and the school district is doing nothing to help. Who should I turn to for help?

Asked by Cassandra via Contact Us:

My 6th grader is being bullied at school and on the bus and the school district is doing nothing to help. Even the district police officer said its common. I am not able to afford an attorney to help so what do I do? My daughter has severe anxiety, is about 50" tall and 60lbs and one of the smallest kids in school making her an easy target since she is afraid of retaliation by talking. So Who do I get to help me? Where do I turn? Please help us before my daughter becomes another statistic.
In Topics: Working with school administrators, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Oct 21, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I am so sorry your daughter is being bullied.  First thing you need to do is hug her.  Tell her you are trying hard to get help and she needs to keep the lines of communication up.  Remind her that you are going to be there for her.  (Tell her often.)

Here are a few suggestions I have given other parents that seem to be helpful.

Set up a meeting with the administration - again. Find out what the anti-bullying plan for the school.   Ask lots of questions like:
What steps will you take to make sure my daughter is safe?
When my daughter reports a bullying incident, what happens?
What happens to the bully?
Are parents of the bully contacted?
When my daughter is bullied, do I need to fill out any forms reporting this situation?
Can I get a copy of the plan?
Where can I find a copy of the school's bullying policy?

Go to the PTA.  Get them involved.  Ask them how they can help keep all of the students safe.  Sometimes PTAs have money to spend on assembles, and there are plenty out there that deal with bullying.

If your daughter is attacked be sure the authorities are contacted and changes are filed.  Whether you go through with any legal action is up to you, but make sure you have a paper trail.  (This goes for the school decisions, too.)  You don't want it to come down to a he said, she said situation with nothing to back up your story.  You can also check with legal aide in your town.  If they feel the case is strong enough, they might take on the case for free.

Go to the newspaper.  Unfortunately this is a hot topic.  Suggest they write an article about what the schools in your town are doing to protect students from bullying.  

Start a journal.  Keeping track of these types of incidents. Record when, where and what happened. Jot down names of those involved.  Try to keep emotions out of it and just stick to the facts.

Talk with the other parents see if any of them will join you in protecting the students.  Get their stories - first hand accounts.  Then as a group go to the administration.  It will help if you go in their with proof and in numbers.  

I'm sorry this has happened to your daughter.  Keep after the school and make sure they follow through with their plan.  Education.com has fantastic resources for you to access.  http://www.education.com/topic/school-bullying-teasing/

Hope this helps.  Now go hug your daughter!

Barb Kruger
www.LessonPop.com

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Daniel_Guillot
Oct 22, 2010
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Sorry to hear of your problems.  I think the advice already give to address the problem is good advice.  However, during your efforts to address the problem you may consider addressing your daughter's emotional state as a separate item.  I would first have your daughter talk to a someone such as a school counselor to help her deal with these situations.  Family or friends who have experience with your situation may be able to help.  There's a saying I believe "10% of life is what happens to you and 90% is how you react to it"  I've proven this to myself many times.  I have learned to take pity on people who try to hurt me.  I've seen many children and adults who feel that they need to tear others down to make themselves look good.

Sometimes ignoring the bully will work to resolve the situation, other times it may cause the situation to continue or worsen.  Responding incorrectly can also cause the situation to get worse.  I recommend parents to begin teaching their children how to respond to these situation.  

Most of the advice I have is good for diffusing a situation before it gets out of control, so it may or may not help with the current situation.  First, firing back with the same type of comments rarely helps, the bully is usually better at this game.  Also, making them look bad can often inflame the situation to another level as they try to retaliate against her.  If someone says something about her in a derogatory way, she can respond by saying "so", or "thanks", or "I appreciate your advice".  The idea with this response is to throw the other person off their game.  Often they will not know how to respond to her.  Look the person in the eye when they are speaking, often they just want attention and may stop or at least slow down if confronted.  Some will feel uncomfortable with this.  After they finish talking, she might say "Do you feel better now?"  Agree with the bully when you have a chance?  I remember staring at someone on day who said "You can stare at me as long as you want"  I responded "Yes I can".  They walked away.  If approriate, the repsonse "OK" might work well.  The response doesn't have to be clever, just effective.  She can try laughing to herself as she walks away.  The bully may just stand there, self-concious, trying to figure out what she is laughing at.  I was told by my father when I was very young, if you can laugh at yourself, then the other person cannot laugh at you, only with you.  She can also try becoming friends with the bully's friends.  They may lose support while she gains it.

More important than learning how to respond is learning what it actually happening.  Often a bully is attacking someone because they feel inferior themselves.  They are just a person with feelings.  They probably learned this because they were bullied themselves.  Often they look for someone easy to prey on.  Sometimes they are afraid of being bullied themselves and are trying to keep the attention away from themselves.  I have actually learned to enjoy messing with people who try to bully others even if they don't realize I'm doing it.  She can too.  Good luck.

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Additional Answers (11)

CoachB
CoachB writes:
My daughter went trough the same thing when she was in the seven, eight and nine grade. I just got tired of calling the school and going to talk to the principal and teachers and they dint do any thing . What i did is i went to the police and got a report than i went and got a peace bond against the student that was bulling her. We went to court and everything. The judge talked to the student and told her that if she would get near her or talked about her (my daughter) that she was going to go jail. He also told the girls parents that they were going to pay a 5,000 dollar fine if this continued . ////// OH and this didn't cost me any thing it was FREE
> 60 days ago

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Marjie
Marjie writes:
Help your school to help your daughter. Give them the information they need if you have to. The site Bullybust has an amazing amount of information and resources that are free for parents, youth, and schools.
http://www.schoolclimate.org/bullybust/
> 60 days ago

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ldram1
ldram1 writes:
I have very same issues with my son,in grade 5 I take it your in my same area homewise I am tring to put a stop to all of this with a O TOLERANCE ON BULLYING in all our area schools, But there tring to STOP me Because they know I KNOW TO MUCH IS GOING ON ! Maybe us parents can get together and STOP THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL! And yes this is going on at school and my son rides the worst  school bus this school has with bully's on it my son on bus is getting stabed with sharp pencils and hurting my son.And at school my son has three 3 at a time on him,nothing is ever done about it! LETS DO SOMTHING ABOUT IT!
> 60 days ago

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Rkimble27
Rkimble27 writes:
I feel so much for you and your daughter, my husband and I are in the middle of a battle with the school district our daughter attends. My daughter is in the 7th grade and has been verbally abused as well as threatened with physical harm by three girls that are in the 7th grade also, all because of a boy that liked my daughter! We have dealt with threats on the phone as well as through her social networking site which she has to chat with family and friends, it has gotten so bad that we are taking her our of the school and going through a home school program. I contacted the local police and filed a report, they submitted the emails to the investigator here as well as the judge and they are pressing charges on all three girls. The pain that this causes children breaks my heart and all over nothing!! These children need to know that this is not OK and the parents need to be more involved in teaching their children that bullying is not ok and will not be tolerated. I agree with the others above me, hug her and tell her it will all be ok, you are her biggest support and she needs to know that she has not caused this and she does not deserve it! Do not give up keep going to the schools do whatever you have to do to get everyone's attention so she is safe , as a mother you should not have to worry while she is at school and the anxiety it causes her is not fair to her either! Good luck and keep hugging her
Becca Kimble
> 60 days ago

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knight3
knight3 writes:
Dear Cassandra, It is better if you go straight to the your child school superintendent and always document, documents and document whom you have spoken and CC any and everyone you contacted. The principal has obligations to you and your child to protect them. When you write to the board of education CC also the sheriff so at least the school knows that you mean business. Be your child advocate and ride the bus without the other person who is bullying your child be able to recognized you. Also file a grievance with the principal which will go on her record for not taking actions on handling the bullied situation. Please always be the voice for your child and protect her from the people who does not care what happens to you and your family.

Concern mom of child who was bullied in the 3rd grade
> 60 days ago

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mama2kas
mama2kas writes:
We had this same EXACT problem with my 7th grader last year.  Problem solved: I dis-enrolled all 3 of my kids and we are now doing the k12 program, which is new to TN this year.  My kids are still considered to be in public school, but the difference is, we school in books at home and do lessons online.  My kids are now in control of their own educations, with me as their "Learning Coach".  This is a GREAT program, and I recommend it to anyone who deals with their kid being bullied (especially as bad as mine was).  Unfortunately, k12 is not offering high school grades this year, but they are working endlessly to provide at least 9th grade next school term (2012-2013).  You can find out more information by going to www.k12.com and looking up your state to see what programs are available to you and your child.  Did I mention it's a FREE PROGRAM!?!?!  They send you all of the books, materials and supplies that you will need, to effectively educate your child at home - all free of charge.  There are even programs that offer computers and printers for your student, and some states or local area's even offer a discount or a full reimbursement for your internet bill every month!  Can't beat that!  and even though it's a little bit rough making the initial transition, my kids are absolutely LOVING this program.  Since we live in TN and this is a fairly new concept for this state, we only have one Academy to use - it's called Tennessee Virtual Academy (or TNVA).  Some states (like CA) offer a wider variety of Academy's and Charter School programs.
Resources:
> 60 days ago

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shay23
shay23 writes:
the thing that you should do is to go to a older person like a teacher or someone that is close to the classroom about whats going on in class.
> 60 days ago

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buttholes
buttholes writes:
it was ams
> 60 days ago

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andymartinezh
andymartinezh writes:
You should tell the teachers, principal or the bully to stop and talk to her mom to.
> 60 days ago

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HeatherPeterson124
HeatherPete... writes:
If I were you, I will just enroll my kid to a online school. Online Education is accessible 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Students have the ability to read and re read lectures, discussions, explanations and comments. Often spoken material in the classroom passes students by due to a number of distractions, missed classes, tiredness or boredom.

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AThiam1635
AThiam1635 writes:
i think you should talk to the concealer
> 60 days ago

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