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What Parents Can Do To Curb Bullies At School

What Parents Can Do To Curb Bullies At School

The issue of bullying at school recently reared its ugly head when a mobile phone video from Australia went viral. In it, a 16-year-old boy body slams a younger boy who has just punched him. More than a million viewers clicked on the various YouTube versions of the video story.

The video shows Casey Heynes intitally taking a passive stance as a younger and smaller boy, Richard Gale, first grabs his shirt and then punches him in the face. Heynes takes repeated jabs passively, but finally picks Gale up and hurls the smaller boy him into the concrete.

In a recent interview, Gale claims Heynes harassed him first off camera. Heynes claims life-long harassment caused him to snap.

Both boys were suspended from their school in western Sydney, Australia in accordance with the school's zero tolerance policy against fighting. (Both sides of the story can be found online at several sites including the Digital Life section of Today.com.)

There have been a variety of reactions: calls for cyber bullying laws to punish people who post similar videos, heated talk radio and television debates over which kid was more wrong or right, and renewed cries to raise anti-bullying awareness in schools. The firestorm ignited from this incident has yet to die down, and many moms are using Circle of Moms to seek advice on how to protect their children from school bullies.

Karen M. started a thread on the Circle of Moms welcome page asking how to get school officials to help harassed kids. She writes, "Does anyone have any advice or success stories on how their school assisted them with a frequent bullying problem? Our school has only been open for just over a year and I was surprised by the amount of parents who had similar stories to mine about their children being bullied and by the staff's lack of interest."

Many moms offered empathy in response, and a few shared some empowering advice on how to engage school officials.

"Talk to the school and keep very detailed notes on each conversation and incident," advises Shelley D.

Charity D. agrees: "Put everything in writing," she posts in the Moms of Kids With ADHD community. "I've had to do this in the past with several issues."

She details her protocol: Her first e-mail correspondence regarding bullying issues is sent to the child's teacher only. It contains a request with response within a specific time frame. If she doesn't receive a response by her deadline, she moves up the educational pecking order to contact the vice principal. If she has no luck there, her next stop is the principal, the school psychologist or the school counselor. Each time she uses written communication to document her concerns and her attempts to address her child's situation. Once this paper trail is in place and if she does not receive a response, she does not hesitate to contact school board members via their school district e-mail accounts. If necessary, she calls them at home.

"No, the school board members don't like being called at home, but once they are disturbed, I guarantee the people in charge will take notice," she writes.

Other moms say just being visible at their child's school helps engage education officials when their children are victims of harassment.

"I'm just really pushy with the principal," writes Keeley T. "I call and show up constantly so she has to do something. But that's just my personality."

The mama bear approach also works for Phyllis H., a mom posting on a Moms Of Kids With ADHD bullying thread.

"Make a royal pain of yourself at the school until they listen," shes writes. "Let them know you are serious."

For additional tips on helping children who are bullied at school, visit the National Education Association fact sheet: For Parents: If a Child Complains of Being Bullied.

Image Source: studiostoer via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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TrishabenzSmith TrishabenzSmith 4 years
I am well armed and knowledgable on how to effectively protect my family. If society deems it my responsibility to keep my children safe, I know how. Bullying is something that has been around well, forever so I teach my kids on what to do and how to react if they are being bullied. The idea of my children being harmed or bullied is not something anyone wants to consider. I found an article by anationofmoms about a service that can protect your family via your cell phone. And, at the bottom there is an opportunity to enter a drawing for 6 months of that service just by liking them on Facebook. You might find it interesting: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect-your-family-giveaway.html
CoMMember13616018353887 CoMMember13616018353887 4 years
I went to Catholic school all my life.I had a nasty group of kids pick on me while I was in middle school. I tried to tell my father about it at first, but he wouldn't listen and blamed it on my being 'weird', and told me that if I acted more 'normal' they would stop. I tried and tried and tried so hard to be normal, but they still didn't like me, so I went goth in protest, and still have dark leanings since (I'm in a metal band :p). My father finally went to put a stop to the problem when I finally broke down and told him everything, how I was physically hit/harrassed, and called really cruel names, how every imperfection was capitalized on. He called the school, and all those kids were threatened with expulsion. If your child is being bullied, DO SOMETHING. I woke up every morning wishing I could just sleep forever, and hating myself. Don't let your kids go through what I did!
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