Great! You’ve been doing your duty of making your child an ally at home. You’ve taught how to outsmart bullies, online and in person. But how do you make the school an ally, especially when you’re not there to see the violations?
Here are some tips:
- Include your child in the problem-solving. If he’s included, he’d be more apt to follow the plan.
- Talk to the school personnel (teachers, school nurses, guidance counselors)to discover what they consider “bullying.” However, because bullying mostly happens on playgrounds, locker rooms, bathrooms and buses, teachers and other school personnel don’t always witness bullying.
- The school guidance counselor would know if your school has a contact person trained to deal with bullying.
- As I wrote before, do NOT call the parents of the bully. It could backfire! The bully could intensify his harassment efforts. Instead, have the police officer talk to the bully.
If Your Child Is Being Bullied, prepare for a School Meeting by:
- 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 the bullying to the teacher or principal.
- Keep accurate records of an additional incident that may occur and any responses received from the school. These records will help you in your school meetings. These records are necessary for the police in the case of physical assault, vandalizing, stalking or cyberbullying.
- Know your school district’s policies and relevant state and federal laws. What are your state laws? What are your school district’s policies on safety, bullying and non-discrimination.
During the Meeting:
- Be calm. Hide your anger even if you are annoyed at the school for not protecting your child. Every child deserves a safe environment in which to learn.
- Quote GLSEN statistics, that approximately 85% of high school students report being harassed in school because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, 64% of students document that they are harassed because of their real or perceived gender identity, and 31% of LGBT students surveyed said they are bullied for their perceived gender.
- Point out that GLSEN’s 20 years of research have shown that what works best for LGBTQ+ students :
- comprehensive anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies
- teachers and school staff are supportive of LGBTQ students
- a gender and sexuality alliance
- an LGBTQ inclusive curriculum
During this National Anti- Bullying Month of October, I will do the next blog post about how to enforce the school’s rules when the school does not intend to be an ally.
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.