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Reporting an Issue at School

It is important to let the school know that your child is being bullied. You should report the reoccurring incidents even if you child is adamant that you not get involved. The bullying will unlikely stop without adult participation.

There are two strategies that schools use to deal with peer conflict that are not suitable for bullying and harassment situations.

  • Make sure that you request that the school staff does not have a joint meeting with your child and the bullying/harassing child. This will do more harm than good.
  • Do not accept the offer for a peer mediation meeting (when trained student mediators help peers solve conflicts) between your child and the child that is harassing your child. This is not recommended because there is nothing to mediate or negotiate – the bullying and harassing is wrong, period. Bullying is not the same as peer to peer conflict.

You should consider involving the police immediately if another child or group of children has physically assaulted your child or is seriously threatening him/her with bodily injury. To sign a complaint against a juvenile, call your local police department to get the necessary information. You may also want to consider filing a harassment complaint against a child or children who continue to harass your child despite numerous attempts by you and/or the school to get them to stop. You should keep a written record of all offenses committed against your child and ask the school to keep a written record in the event the police may need to access the information for future complaints.

Before you talk with the school staff:

  • Make sure your child explains to you exactly what happened ... who was bullied, who the bully was, where and when it happened, and what was said, written, and or done. Write this information down.
  • Be sure you keep your emotions in check. Getting upset, angry, or emotional will not help. Instead, remain calm and work together to make a plan.

Schedule a meeting to talk with your child’s teacher in the first instance to see if they are aware of the situation. It is often useful to send an email to the teacher as well so that you can have a written record of your meeting time and correspondence. Then follow up.

If the situation does not improve, talk to one of the school administrators. It is also important to keep a record of this correspondence.

The PACER Center has created an excellent letter writing guide for parents and caregivers to send to the school.

While is it recommended to send all letters via certified mail and save all copies for future reference, emailing letters also serves as an effective way to keep track of the time and date the incident was reported. Some email servers like Outlook, have the option of attaching a notification that come to you when the receiver has opened the email. This will help you know if they received it.