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Parent asks: what can be done about bullying in our private school?

Asked on behalf of an Education.com visitor who wrote to our Webmaster:

"I am looking for some direction on bullying in the private school sector. I am not sure where to start, but feel a great need to get connected, and curtail bullying. I know for a fact that our girls in high school are turning to anti depressant drugs, upper classman boys know it is a right of passage to bully the new lower classmen on campus. Frankly, I am worried that my kid, a boy 6 feet tall, is a wrestler, musician and a nice guy, will fall into this category of rising 9th grade boys. The school take on it has been: talk with the victims to deal or ignore it. And the BEAT goes on!"
In Topics: My Relationship with my child's school, Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 25, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It's great that you are acknowledging that bullying may be a problem in your son's school. Private schools can sometimes be a bit trickier to work with in terms of school policies because they are not mandated by the same rules as public schools are. They may or may not have a specific written policy about how bullying is to be handled. The first step is to find out if they do have a written policy. Ask to speak to the principal or headmaster in charge of your son's school. If they do have a written policy ask the principal specific ways in which they are implementing that policy. Then take a few moments to share your concerns with that person as to the bullying you may have witnessed or heard about.  Ask them what their plan is to prevent future bullying.  Ask how you can get involved in an anti-bullying program at your son's school.

The most important thing you can do is emotionally prepare your son to handle bullying if he sees it occurring, or if he finds himself in the middle of a bully situation. Continuously teach your son what it means to respect others and how it can change others perception of him if he chooses to engage in bullying himself. Explain what it means to be a person of character and give him lots of praise when he shows good character through his actions and words. If he finds himself the victim of 9th grade bullying, talk with him about ways of ignoring it and verbally standing up for himself. Also, talk to the school about it, giving them specific examples of what your son is experiencing. You and your son don't have to accept bullying or hazing as a "normal" part of being in 9th grade.

To strengthen your son's self esteem, encourage him to get involved in activities outside of school so he is getting positive reinforcement from other sources. Remind him that he isn't defined by what other people say at school.

If you or your son want to speak to someone about this you are welcome to call our parent/teen crisis line. We talk everyday to both parents and kids that have experienced bullying. We can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-800-448-3000.

Take Care,
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (7)

drakex10
drakex10 writes:
Teach your son some Self Defense tell him only to use in defense and teach him morals . Let him buy his own stuff like pants, shirts, backpack etc.DONT LET HIM GET A BIG BACKPACK.BUT DON'T JUGDE HIS STYLE NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't try to make friends with his friends or there parents but don't LOSE CONTACT WITH YOU SON.M
> 60 days ago

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
A Bully picks on kids that haven't earned their respect.  Its sad but true. Bullys live in very insecure worlds, where comfort, love and morals haven't been introduced.   Ignoring a bully does not make the bully go away.  In order to earn a bully's respect you have to stand up to them.  It is NEVER OK to strike another child or hurt someone.  But it is OK, in my opinion, to defend yourself.  This means that if someone hits my kid - my kid needs to pound him back.  Although my child will get in trouble, he will also not get bullied again.  Each school needs to take care of their students so that a child feels safe and comfortable in school.  If the school is not providing for a child's safety then this is a big issue that I would take up with the school board.  As a parent, your job is to teach your own children that we work together as a community, helping the strong and the weak.  We love all mankind and protect those less fortunate.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
That is just it, peers earning peers respect. The group judges and determines where your child should fit in. This is the problem with classroom setups. Have you considered changing schools? I always promote and suggest homeschooling if you can. The solution is to remove your son from that kind of environment. Sometimes bullying can be resolved, but usually nothing can be done but talking with the bullies and the parents of the bullies. I feel like all bullies should be removed from the school setting period. With a private school, it can be even more challenging because of parental control. The actions you can take now if you do not want to take him out, is to contact the parents or set up a bullying meeting with the school. Require all parents to attend. Set up a powerpoint on Bullycide and explain the dangerous consequences that can come with it. Parents just do not realize that bullying can lead to so many problems like depression, low-self esteem, anxiety disorders, and sadly even suicide.
> 60 days ago

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karelg
karelg writes:
I highly favor the view that if a private school does not seem to have administrative personnel specially trained to control & manage the bullies, then there is no way you should keep your child in that school. I mean good schools are aware of keeping the balanced environment suitable for all students. If not, try to change the school, even home schooling is a good suggestion for you, but it all depends whether you can afford giving extra time & tuition to your child.
On the other side, talk to the administration of school, and let them know what's the meaning of good quality and equally provided environment that is suitable for all students.
> 60 days ago

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Kellen06
Kellen06 writes:
My son also attends private school and has been bullied there for two years.  Although our school did deal with it,(once they finally believed it was happening- four months later) they did so in an very ineffective manner and so it never stopped.  Private schools can sometimes put their image and financial needs over a students needs. This is what happened with us.  We advised the school that were leaving at the end of the year and now they have told us that there is nothing else they can do the help with the bullying.  If you feel that the response you have recieved from your school is unsatisfactory I would suggest you should look to another school that will suit your son's needs. He should not have to suffer and you are probably paying way too much money to have a school dismiss your concerns.
> 60 days ago

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EdieRaether
EdieRaether , Teacher writes:
Setting bigger traps is NOT the answer. Sending kids to school with psychological armor may help, but armor gets heavy! It also shifts the responsibility of the problem onto the victim rather than the bully who instills shame and keeps the victim silent. Being “different’ is not a crime, but bullying is or often leads to criminal behavior. Since most bullies were first victims themselves, the cycle of despair and cruelty continues which is why Emy programs of intervention get to the “heart” of the problem to create a caring culture and safe space for all children to reach out.
Please visit www.stopbullyingwithedie.com if you want to make a true shift in consciousness and get it right.
> 60 days ago

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Bigred2972
Bigred2972 writes:
My opinion and experience will tell you this....each and every meeting; take notes or ask if you can record it...then follow up with an email of the minutes of the meeting if you cannt get anyone to sign a hard copy you will have a record regardless. Be positive and give resources to the school and follow up to see if they used them..all this will come in handy as you move up the chain of command and also let people know you serious about a resolution and prevention of bullying.
> 60 days ago

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