What to do when school doesn't protect your child?
My child has had continuous bullying from children in his school. He also had a threat of sexual assault with a specific date made against him. After many emails and meetings informing the school administrators of the incidents the bullying still continues. My son has had to suffer in fear in class with the student who has threatened him with sexual assault as well as others who bullied. One class is located off school grounds and the student who made a threat to my child was in this class. No one notified the staff who heads this class of the threat made against my son or bullying by kids who are in this same class with my child. He was subjected to further abuse because of this and is in fear of going to school. I have contacted local representatives, and city council to help. Calls have been made to the school but the bullying is STILL going on as of his last time in school. I was told that if I continue to speak with city officials that the school would get lawyers. Please help. My child has been a well behaved student and from everyone's account a delightful and respectful child. The students who have been bullying and threatening him have a history of bullying. He has also had to witness the student who had alleged threatened him of sexual assault, assault another student in the class right in front of him and not much was done to reprimand him in class. Please help.
To begin with you can take a solution based approach with the school which focuses on safety of your son. Parents can request that the school provide safety plan/support for their child --who is a "safe person" for them to talk to, or a staff member who will monitor specifically for other incidents?
Every district has a superintendent and board of education that make decisions regarding issues that are not resolved; as a result parents should contact them with all unresolved issues. If you have worked with the schools and feel that there is still no resolution, you can contact your state's Dept of Education.
Another key to helping your child is to give him a sense of control in dealing with bullies. It is difficult as a parent to hear that your child is experiencing this type of behavior from classmates. Here are some general tips to helping your son in the future:
1. Understand/assess the level of bullying--how often, who is involved, etc.
2. Teach problem solving/assertiveness--how could they respond in the future?
3. Communicate openly with the intent to listen and understand, but not to "fix."
4. Help create a network of friends/support systems
5. Promote confidence and self esteem
6. Spend one-on-one time each day to provide support
7. Assess child's social skills/ability to control emotions
8. Get input from teachers on their observations
It is important to help kids learn to cope with adversity. If he feels loved, supported and empowered at home it can go a long way in helping him be able to deal with similar issues in the future.