If you or your child is being bullied by classmates, you have probably reported the bullying to someone at the school. But, then what? How was the issue addressed by the school? Did they talk to the bully or punish the bully? Did the situation get better? Did the situation get worse?
Regardless of how serious or small the issue is or feels, one of the most important steps for students and parents to remember when reporting a situation is DOCUMENTATION!
If you are meeting with a teacher or principal, come prepared with proof and examples of when and where the bullying happened. If you have e-mail communication, keep copies of all of your messages and copy all of those involved (teachers, counselors, principals, school board members, etc.).
Pictures can also be important. If there are messages sent or posted on Facebook, be sure to take a screenshot so you have that evidence. You can also take copies of cell phone text message logs to show any harassing messages.
Keep track of each incident – the date/time you or your child is harassed, assaulted, bullied, etc. You should have this daily log so you can show the bullying is ongoing and that despite the school’s efforts (or non-efforts) to intervene, the situation continues to escalate.
You can also ask for witness accounts; if others were there when the bullying happened, record their statements or ask them to fill out an incident report detailing what took place.
One of the biggest challenges for parents and students is feeling defeated, like their reports are being ignored, but never give up. It is critical to continue to document and report all incidents.
If your school has an online incident reporting form, this can be a great first step to ensure your reports continue to be documented by the school. However the most important steps involve getting the right information (incident reports that contain the right details) to the right people so the right people can do the right things…and your documentation can help make the difference for your child.
For more detailed information and tips for Parents, please visit www.everythingstartswith1.org and request the Your Voice Parent Guide, written by David and Tina Long of the movie ‘Bully’.