o.k. School has started. School bullies do not need orientation. They are hard at work harassing their victim, your gay children, 24 /7. Your school downplays your child’s horrific experience. You are lucky that your child has come to you with her concerns. Many are afraid to tell grown-ups as they may be considered tattling or be accused of “asking for it.”
What’s a parent to do? If you have reached out to your child’s teacher and received a disinterested response, don’t be deterred. Under state laws, most schools are required to develop policies about bullying. However, that doesn’t mean the school staff has received training related to their district’s bullying prevention policy. Or they pay attention to messages of inclusion in posters on the brick school walls. Know your school’s policy before you try to get positive reinforcement from it.
How To Get Cooperation for Bullying
You need all adults: parents, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, media to work together as champions for your children. Continue to contact other school personnel in a chain of command. If the teacher is uncooperative, call the guidance counselor, school social worker, principal. If your needs are still not satisfied, contact the PTO, the school board, the superintendant, and if you’re concerned about your child’s safety, call the local police!
Get the Word Out!
Talk to your friends about what is going on. Reach out to other parents. Take your message online. Find the blogging community for support, guidance, and practical advice.
Act Like A Court Stenographer!
To keep all involved parties organized, informed and goal-directed:
• Document your child’s incidents of bullying.
• Record as much detail as you can.
• Prior to meeting with school personnel, write down your goals for the conversation.
• Make notes on whom you spoke to at school.
• Write down their responses, word for word.
• After meeting, put in writing any agreed upon resolutions.
• Request that all involved parties signed the document to indicate their agreement.
• Keep at it!
Resources to Help You:
Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), http://www.glsen.org/educate/resources
Family Equality .org.
The Stonewall national education project
Human Rights Campaign Foundation
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.