Bullying is a very common problem that affects many school-going children and should never be taken lightly. Bullying can sometimes cause devastating effects on some children who fall victims to it. Schools and teachers who fail to act on substantiated cases of bullying on school property could also get into serious legal trouble. Cyber-bullying through the use various communication technologies is sometimes used to humiliate or taunt individuals, often magnifying an already painful experience.
Should you suspect that your child is a victim of bullying, there are things you can do to ensure it stops and never happens again.
Warning Signs of School Bullying
There are many forms of bullying which could occur in various situations. The legal definition of bullying is physical, mental, or verbal acts that are committed by a student with the intent of intimidating, harassing, or causing harm to another.
Listed below are some warning signs that could mean your child is a bullying victim:
- Your child shows up from school with unexplained bruises, cuts, or bumps on various occasions
- Your child keeps to themselves most of the time, both in school and at home and appears not to have a lot of friends
- Your child no longer likes school as much as they once did
- Your child starts missing school more and often just asks to stay at home
- Your child starts performing poorly in school
- Your child is depressed, sad or moody most of the time
- Your child begins to suffer from low self-esteem
- There is an increased change in your child’s feeding habits
- Your child changes the route to school, even preferring a longer route
- Your child has complains of physical pain such as backaches, stomachache, and headaches
- Your starts having trouble falling asleep and often has recurring nightmares
How You Can Act
Fortunately, you can prevent or stop school bullying by taking some steps. Legally, all schools are required to do everything in their power to help stop or prevent any bullying known to them. If a school is found to have ignored or done little to stop or prevent bullying, then they can become legally answerable.
If you find that your child is or has been a victim of bullying, the following is a list of things you can do to solve this issue:
- Be a good listener. One important thing you can do is to talk to your child every day. Make it a habit of asking how their day at school was and other school related questions. Getting a child to open up over an issue such as bullying is often a challenge, and so you should learn to be a good listener.
- File a complaint in school. The next thing to do should you discover that your child is being bullied, is to complain to the class teacher or the principle about the issue and everything you know about it. It is best to have the complaint in writing, complete with date, nature of incident and details.
- Keep a record of accounts. It is as important to ensure you keep a detailed record of all incidences that have occurred, and any responses you receive from the school regarding the issue. Include your child’s statements and those of any other witness.
- Talk to the school’s counselor. If your child’s school has guidance counselor ask to meet with them along with your child.
- Code of conduct. Check the school code of conduct to see if the school has done what they should do to prevent cases such as school bullying.
- Seek legal advice. In case you have done all the above, and there has not been a good solution to the problem, then it is necessary to contact and attorney and consult about the problem. Lawyers can help you and your child to pursue legal claims against parents and/or school that has not done enough to prevent this issue from happening.