Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to stop bullying at school.

All of my kids were bullied at primary school and in their first year at secondary school. It only happened once and I stopped it cold! Here's how I did it.

You first have to know your child is being bullied. That sounds self evident but you'd be surprised how hard it can be. None of my kids came to me first - they were too scared. My kids weren't scared of me, they were threatened by the bullies into not telling.

The first signs I noticed were not wanting to go to school. This was followed by feigned illness. Other sings were getting into trouble in the classroom. All of my kids are good kids and good students. Their behavior was out of character. That is your first important clue.

I talked to them and let them know they were not in trouble, that I was on their side and I would personally ensure that the bullying would stop. The last part is the most important and you have to mean it and let them know you damn sure mean it.

Next, make and appointment to speak to the teacher and headmaster together with your child. Your child must be present! They will witness how you take control and handle the situation. It will give them confidence that you will stop the bullying.

Start by letting the teacher and headmaster know that your child is being bullied. Give them the name of the bully and listen carefully to what they say next. This is critical. In every single instance of bullying the school officials would roll their eyes and say something like, "oh, we've had problems with him or her before". Or, "yes, we're aware of the problem with that student". They are falling into your trap.

Next, ask them if they have plans, policies and procedures to stop bullying. Watch as their chest fills out, a smile comes over their face and they say with pride, "yes we have a very successful campaign of anti-bullying and do not tolerate it".

Then ask them, what's the test that your plans, policies and procedures are working? Now watch as their chest falls, a blank comes over their face and they mutter, "huh?". Tell them, the proof that their working plans are working is that the bullying stops.

Now tell them that as your child is being bullied by a known bully who they are currently dealing with, it's obvious that their plans, policies and procedures are failing - bullying is happening on their watch! Watch now as their faces look like they've been hit by a brick.

Now it's time for you to take charge. Remind them that there is a three way contract in the education process. I make sure my child does their homework, is clean, fed and attends all classes. My child does their homework and attends school. The school teaches my child and provides a safe learning environment for them. Point out to them that they are the only ones in this three way contract who is failing.

Since it is they who are failing, tell them this is how it's going to work from now on. Tell them your child has a mobile phone, you have a mobile phone and you have the schools phone number (get the headmasters mobile number if you can). Tell them from now on, if your child gets bullied your child will call you immediately, even in class and you will in turn call the school immediately. The will object to your child calling during class. Tell them you don't care. As they are failing to protect your child, your child has the right to call for help. Let them know that this will continue until the bullying stops. Let them know, that in short, you will make their life hell until they do their job and protect your child.

Be firm in all of this; be mad even! Let them know you are serious and mean business. Also, let them know that you will go to the police, seek legal advice, go to the school board or even the press. In short, you are going to do everything humanly possible to stop the bullying.

In every single case this has worked for me. My kids were bullied just once in primary and once in first year of secondary school.

I hope this helps.

Your children have the right not to be bullied and the schools are failing in their job. Don't take it! Make them do their job!

For more help, visit BullyingUK.


Adam said...

Hey Marc-
I commend you for being such a good dad, for taking action and getting results. You can't argue with success.

My only concern is that your child didn't develop the necessary skills to handle the next aggressive jerk they'll meet as they get older.

Your intervention fixed one problem - and reaffirmed your love and support of your kids. Teaching a kid how to deal with bullies on their own may have been more fruitful in the long run.

OMMAG said...

If the officials "Know" about a problem but have done nothing to effectively eliminate it ... then they are the problem.

Been there and done that! As the saying goes.

After I had my son attend that meeting he KNEW the point was to take no crap from anyone.

Marc said...

Adam, actually my actions did teach my kids how to deal with bullies. It showed them bullying was a serious issue that had to be delt with immediately and forcefully. They saw the anger and loathing I felt towards bullies. They now share those feelings. Whenever someone tries to bully them now, they stand up to them firmly and they don't back down. They still tell me what happened and I take the inicident up with school officials.

The result is, my kids now have a reputation in shcool that they are not to be "messed" with. My son, in third year at secondary, has not had an incident since first year and my daughter, in second year, has not had an incident since first year.

I've told them, in front of shcool officials, that they have the right to fight back. When school officials objected, I told my kids, in front of the officials, to ignore them as they had the right to defend themselves. Further, my kids now intervene of behalf of others being bullied.

Both my kids primary school and secondary school still have bullies and sadly always will. But, both now take swifter and firmer actions against bullies.

My oldest son now 20 and in college, to this day intervens on behalf of others.

Sadly, Britain has become a do nothing state. In large part I suppose to the nanny and pc brigade. Britains are afraid to act out of fear that the state will see them as the criminal. As an American living in the UK, I've raised my kids that that is the wrong way. I've told them to stand up for their rights and fight back.

I've taught other parents here in my local area how to fight back and I hope it's worked for them and improved the schools. I hope this message helps others.

Brain Bliss