Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am a parent whose child has been bullied. These are tips I have come up with to help other parents with the same issue.
If you follow the kids blog, you might have seen her latest post. For the past little while she has been bullied. It has been verbal and social bullying. Which is a lot harder to prove. Some people think it’s not a big deal. They haven’t been ‘hit’ or they are to sensitive. It is a big deal. We have had many meetings with the school. Which is interesting as bullying is in the forefront everywhere. You would assume this wouldn’t be such an issue.
This experience has shown me how much I want to advocate for parents who don’t know which way to go when their child comes home saying they are bullied. I wanted to showcase a few points one needs to know on this
1. Documentation: Document everything. Document phone calls, meetings, outcomes, and what people have said. Remember however, documentation is about facts. It is not about feelings. This documentation will also help you remember times and scenarios of what has happened.
2. Policy: I took for granted when we moved here that a zero bully policy was adhered to as it was at the kids school back in Ontario. The past few days I have read up on the school’s policy. It is not the same as what I took for granted. If you are moving to a new school, or even the school you are in, be aware of what the policies are. If you don’t agree, there maybe trouble down the way.
Be aware as well, because of their policies and procedures they may acting within the parameters of what they are necessitated in doing. You may not agree with it, but they have covered themselves.
3. Be calm: While reading their policies, I came across an irate parent policy. When dealing with school administration, always be sure to be calm, cool and collected. Even if you want to go in swinging because you are not being listened to or consequences of negative behaviour are not dealt with the way they should be, be calm. If you are upset, this can and probably will be used against you.
4. Be educated: Social media is both a great and horrid invention. Sadly, people use their screens as shields for saying negative, hurtful and sometimes threatening things. We went to the RCMP to inquire about cyber-bullying. A lovely RCMP officer sat down with us and educated us on what is criminal behaviour, cyber-bullying and bullying. All information is good. Educate your children as well. Everything they post, even if deleted can be retrieved.
5. Save everything: Save your documentation. Save as well any social messages that have been used as cyberbullying. Instagram, facebook, KIK, twitter, etc… These if need be can be used to help you in the future with your case.
6. It’s not fair. It sucks. Bullying should be dealt with immediately. “We do not accept unacceptable behaviour. Period. The End”. Sometimes it’s not. You shouldn’t have to fight for your child’s safety, and their right to be educated in a safe environment. Yet I can tell you there are many many parents out there who are. This journey has had me talk to many people in my town. The stories they told me made me want to cry.
7. If we are silent, nothing will change.
I’m not going to put a whole bunch of links down. Google bullying. Google bully Canada or whatever country you live in. The resources are abundant. The education is there. Arm yourself with it.
Lastly, tell your child they are awesome. Sitting in the school office I looked over at the kid. “You’re awesome. Never forget that”, I said. “I know,” she smiled.