For parents, it can be frustrating and worrisome when your child is suffering bullying at school.
You may feel tempted to jump right in and “save the day,” so-to-speak.
However, there are systems and procedures that you can follow in UK schools to ensure that the bullying stops.
What NOT to do
If your child is being bullied at school, you might be tempted to handle things yourself. Yet, that often causes more problems than solves.
In fact, children commonly refrain from telling parents about bullying because they don’t want to face reprisals. Reprisals could be from the bully or from their peers in general.
Also, barging into the school offices and being demanding won’t be very helpful either. Getting angry at the school is not productive.
Instead, consider a plan of action that you can follow to resolve this issue.
What you can do
Step 1: Take notes and have the facts
Before going to the school, take detailed notes about the bullying. If it has been going on for a while, keep a journal of when your child reports being bullied. That way, when you go to the school officials, you have something concrete to refer to and evidence to support your case.
Having things written down also helps keep you calm and focused on the right things, as you work with the school to resolve the problem.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment
Next, schedule an appointment with your child’s school. Your appointment could be with their classroom teacher or their head of year, pastoral lead or school head, depending on the level of escalation of the issue.
Remember, though, when you go into this meeting, don’t be angry or blame the teacher for not doing their job. According to the website BullyingUK, the school is often the last to find out that bullying is occurring. Peers are usually the first to know, then parents, finally the school.
As upsetting as it is when your child is getting bullied, try to be calm, ready to voice your concerns, and work to together to come up with a solution.
Step 3: Pursue ideas for stopping the bullying
Some ideas for stopping the bullying behaviour include:
- Have the students participate in conflict mediation
- Ask that contact between your child and the bully be minimised
- Request school officials monitor the bully
- Have additional supervision in areas such as corridors or the changing rooms
Keep in mind that UK law requires that schools have an anti-bullying policy. Kindly insist that they implement it.
What if the bullying involves physical violence?
There are some options available to you if your child is being bullied physically. For example:
- If your school has one, get in touch with the school liaison officer
- Have your child see your health care provider to document any injuries
- Ensure your child is getting emotional support through a counsellor or via the school
Remember that in both England and Wales, the age for criminal responsibility is ten years old. If the bully is under 10, then there is not much that the police can do.
However, even at that young age, schools usually enforce consequences for bullying. These can range from as little as an informal warning to being permanently expelled from the school.
But what is the problem still does not get resolved?
If the bullying continues or if you feel that the school isn’t taking you seriously, there are still more things you can do. One is to contact the Advisory Centre for Education, which has resources for parents on this issue, as do Bullying UK.
You can also write a letter to the Education Department.
If your child does not feel safe at school, they may try to stay at home. However, parents need to be aware that they can be prosecuted if their children are do not attend school and are not being taught at home.
The best scenario for everyone is that your child feels safe at school so that they can learn and complete their studies. Therefore, the bullying must stop!
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay