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Karine423
Karine423 asks:
Q:

How can I stop the bullying of my 13 year old son?

My son has been bullied all through grade school and now in the 7th grade. I have even filed assault charges against one boy. I have tried to work through the school to get this stopped to no avail. The school just brushes it off. Over the years these boys have become very skilled at attacking my son, both mentally and physically, so that there are no witnesses. I have even requested meetings with the parents of these boys through the school, the parents never responded to the school's letters. I have also contacted the local sheriff's department to report the incidents involving these boys so that there is a record, but again there are no witnesses. At what point is the school accountable for allowing this behavior to continue? Also, to what extent is it the school's responsibility to ensure my son's safety? I am afraid for my son's safety and also the repercussions of him having enough of it all. In the past, if these boys have been called in to discuss their behavior, they lash out at my son even more. Any information that you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
In Topics: Bullying and teasing
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Mar 18, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Karine,

I am very sorry to hear that your son has been forced to cope with such severe bullying over such a long period of time. It sounds like this has been a long, difficult road for him. Although you have taken a number of important steps to help ameliorate this problem, there are a few additional actions you can take:

1. Does your school have an anti-bullying policy? If so, what does it state? Typically, an anti-bullying policy states what types of behaviors are unacceptable and what the consequences are. Your son's school is expected to consistently follow the policy. If, and when, meetings are held with the bullies and the school officials, your son should not be present. Research has shown that "mediation" (the victim, the bully, and the school personnel present) is not effective because bullying involves a dynamic that includes an imbalance of power. Mediation includes arbitration between two parties that are on equal-footing.

If your son's school does not have a bullying policy, then you should consider working with the school to create one. This would facilitate a stronger and more consistent response to the bullying. Finally, if your son's school remains unhelpful, you can write a letter to the district superintendent to request additional help and expertise. Your son's school DOES have a responsibility to keep him safe.

2. I believe that your son may benefit from some support around the bullying he has experienced. Unfortunately, research shows that children who are bullied are at greater risk for depression, anxiety, health problems, and more. Does your son's school have a school counselor that he can meet with? If not, you might consider asking for referrals for counselors outside your son's school.

I also believe that your son may need some advice and guidance around how to manage the bullying situations in the moment. What he should say and do. Many experts believe that a bully-victim dynamic emerges between children and is unintentionally reinforcing. Depending upon the circumstances, there may be steps your son can take to make him a less compelling target. At the minimum, he should travel with a buddy when possible, school personnel (lunch monitors, teachers, etc) should be alerted to places and times when the bullying occurs. These steps may help to minimize the frequency.

I have included a couple of resources below to provide additional information.

Good luck!

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist
Education.com Expert Panel
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Additional Answers (2)

tink
tink writes:
The schools are responsible for our childrens saftey! Get a copy of the schools policy on behavoir, bulling, ect. The first thing you need to do is get your son a voice recorder. Don't let him tell anyone he has it and have him bring all recordings to you and not school personal. You tell the school that they can have copies and if they do not want to take care of the problem your attorny will be contacting them. This is very serious and you are your childs voice. Show him that you are on his side and will walk through fire to help him.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello, bullying can be an issue that can really change a child's. First of all, if you have met with the school and no results, then you may want to try local law enforcement. Bring your son with you when you do this. Tell your son that this is what grown ups do to grown ups that won't stop threatening or harrassing people. After your meeting, you may want to contact the school that you have talked to the police dept. In addition, you may want to request the school to hold a special presentation regarding bullying. I would sent a copy to the BOE and demand the school take action. This way your son can see as he walks through the process of what can really be done. Have complaints in writing to the school is ALWAYS a better idea. Anything in writing can benefit you in a court of law. Also, it can get better results.
In addition to this, I would demand the boys be separated at school in writing after filing a complaint with the police dept. Attach a copy of the complaint with the request letter.
This is all if you are dead set on having your child in that school. If not, I would seek other options. Here are valid options:

1. Homeschool: Make your you find a church cover school and enroll your before withdrawing. This is a legal option and constitutional right for all parents.

2. Change schools: Although this does not always solve the problem, if you do some research, you may be able to weed out the bad ones by getting in a better area or going tot he private sector.

PS: I personally homeschool and have found all of the bully issues have gone away. My child is happier and actually learns better here at home. Its great to know you have an emotionally well child and even though a lot of parents are doubtful about homeschool, it actually works!
Goodluck,
Stephanie

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