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Twelve Steps To Ending Bullying in Schools

Posted by attorney Michelle Ball

Reports on bullying are everywhere in the news nowadays and negative impacts from bullying are common. For example, The New York Times reported on an attack of a Philadelphia boy by 7 youths on the way home from school. The victim was beaten by a group and then left hanging from a high fence. Prior to that the boy had been kicked, dragged, punched, and placed upside down in a tree according to the author of the article, John Hurdle. These types of events happen nationwide.

California schools are under an obligation to take action when they know bullying is occurring. They may also punish the students involved (see California Education Code sections 48900(r) and 48900.4). There may be similar regulations in other states. Regardless, bullying remains rampant.

Here's what you can do to get action from the school and stop the bullying:

1) Talk to your kids every single day about what is going on at school. Really get into problems they are having and who the problems are with.

2) Go observe your children at school. Get advanced permission from the school. Then, sit and watch what is going on with your child from a distance.

3) If anything comes up in your discussions and/or observation involving repetitive taunting, pushing, etc. note this down. Keep a daily journal of what is going, where it happens, and who is involved.

4) If things are bad, and/or physical at all, send a letter to the school regarding what is going on. Ask for a meeting and action by the school.

5) Meet with the powers that be and develop a plan to stop the bullying. Bring a list of items you WANT put in place such as a shadow aide to follow your child, a meeting with the other kids' parents, daily email, etc. This list will be unique to each student, depending on the situation.

6) If they ignore you,send your letter to the Superintendent.

7) If things continue to occur, send DAILY LETTERS with specifics. Paper trails are great for making people act.

8) You can also file a complaint in writing with the District, or could even go to your local grand jury to file a complaint if you are getting nowhere.

10) Pick up your child or walk them to/from school if possible.

11) Protect your kids. If the school and district are non-responsive, you must protect your child as a first action while you resolve the problems. This may mean transfer to another school, independent study, your supervision at school as needed, etc. Their safety is paramount. You do not want to have your son or daughter end up like the boy in Philadelphia who was beaten by a group of kids and left hanging from a fence.

12) Attorney involvement at any point can also help.

The school will control what they do in response to the bullying, but you can influence them by providing a list of what you think will solve the problem.

Don't neglect this. Parents must take control to the degree they can, or their child may be left hanging beaten from a fence or worse.

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