Last week, I addressed preparing your LGBT child for possible bullying during the school year. It’s a straight parent’s homework!
Most importantly, you want to make the school your ally. How do you do this?
- Talk to the school personnel to discover what they regard as bullying. However, keep in mind that often teachers and other school professionals do not witness bullying because it happens out of their sight (e.g. playgrounds, locker rooms, bathrooms, and buses).
- Some schools have a contact person trained to deal with bullying. The School Guidance Counselor would know.
- Write down the date, details, nature of bullying incident, statement from your child, witnesses, and an account of your child’s emotional state and if your child has reported it to the teacher or principal.
- Keep accurate records of any additional incident that may occur and any responses received from the school. These records will serve you well in your school meetings.
- Do NOT call the parents of the bully. It could backfire on your child. Request that the officer visit the bully for a talk.
- Trust your instincts and your child. He knows best and is the victim.
- Be calm during school meetings. Although every child deserves a safe environment in which to learn, and you may be angry at the school for not protecting your child, don’t let your disappointment in the school get in the way of the purpose of your school meeting. Think of them as school allies.
According to Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D., co-author of When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know (Sterling, 2016), “it takes time to stop bullying. Be persistent. You can develop a “radar” for discovering whether this is going on.”
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.