How parents should respond when schools downplay bullying

| Jan 8, 2020 | Bullying |

Parents in Los Angeles, California, typically know that the first step they should take to address a bullying issue is to report it. Unfortunately, there are still many teachers and administrators today who take a lax response to bullying allegations. Some either ignore the allegations altogether, or they downplay the frequency and severity of the problem. Others may give a half-hearted attempt to correct the issue but fail to follow through with the consequences. Such situations can be frustrating for parents, who may seek to understand why schools downplay bullying and what they can do about it. 

According to VeryWell Family, there are plenty of reasons teachers and administrators may downplay bullying. However, four are more common than others. The most common reason teachers ignore bullying is the fact that their plates are too full. Administrators often set high expectations for teachers, making it difficult for them to meet the rigorous demands of their day-to-day responsibilities on top of worrying about bullying. 

Additionally, many teachers simply do not have the resources to deal with bullying. Not only do they lack the proper training, but also, they often lack administrative support. 

Then there are the teachers who simply hold onto the old-school notion that bullying is a “rite of passage” and that acts of bullying are “kids being kids.” Worse, these same teachers also view bullying as a “conflict,” which they try to help children resolve through compromise. Unfortunately, most bullies are unwilling to compromise. 

When a school downplays a parent’s allegations of bullying, Child Family Therapy Center suggests ways for him or her to get the school’s full attention on the matter. First, it recommends that a parent work its way up the chain of command. If a teacher is unwilling to listen, the parent should reach out to the principal. If the issue persists, the parent should turn to the superintendent. 

Parents of bullied children should also take the discussion online. Other parents of other bullied children may have great advice and support to offer. Because bullying is often a school-wide problem, a parent should also bring the matter to the attention of other parents at the school, as there is strength in numbers. 

When a school flat-out refuses to address a bullying problem, the parents of the bullied should begin to document the bullying, interactions with the school and any agreements made. Documentation may come in handy if the parent is forced to move further up the chain of command. 

Finally, the center encourages parents to persist in their efforts to end bullying. Doing so will both serve to boost the child’s moral and hopefully eventually turn up a solution.