While you want to work with the school, if your child is not getting support despite your calm, organized, respectful endeavors, and the bullying continues, it’s time to take matters up to the next level.
- Go up the chain of command. Call the district office administrators. Work your way up the chain of command in your community.
- Mobilize support. Get other parents on board with you. If your child’s school is not taking this seriously, go to the superintendent and to the board of education. Don’t stop. Keep going up the ladder. Get the local media involved if you think it could be helpful. (Just know at this point you will not win a popularity contest and could jeopardize your relationship with the school.)
- Find objective outsider if necessary. You may need to get an objective outsider like a principal or day care supervisor to mediate. A diplomatic: “I’m concerned about the relationship between our kids” may be your best opener.
- Decide to confront bully’s parents. If you decide to confront the bully’s parents, you may be in for a rough ride. A national PTA survey found only one-fourth of parents support contacting other parents to deal with bullying. A bully’s parent usually denies their kid is guilty and may blame your child as well and feel you are criticizing her parenting. Don’t be surprised if you are told to “toughen your kid up” and don't be shocked if the bully’s parent is a bully herself. On the other hand, I’ve had several parents admit that a planned civil meeting with parents of the bully and other concerned individuals proved very helpful. Weigh things carefully.
- Remain vigilant. You may need to change your child’s classes, team or in some cases even schools to protect your kid. At this point you may also need to hire a child advocate or attorney. Do whatever you must, but advocate for your child’s safety. Do not let anyone tell you that bullying can’t be reduced.
- Seek professional help. Bullying is known to cause severe emotional harm. Repeat trauma may erode your child’s fragile self-esteem and cause high levels of emotional distress and loneliness as well as anxiety and depression. If you see these changes happening in your child, then do not wait. Seek help of a trained mental health provider.
More Answers from Michele Borba