Sadly children are often bullied in school, and it is perfectly normal for parents to be concerned about what is going on at their children’s school. When should you be concerned about bullying at school? When does bullying go from something that happens in schools to creating a hostile environment?
Really, when you’re a parent, if your child is being bullied at school you’re going to be concerned. That is totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of. They’re your child, of course, you don’t want them to be bullied.
The bigger concern is when does bullying go from a normal childhood problem to creating a hostile environment that impacts your child’s health and safety.
What is Normal Bullying?
There is no definition for “normal bullying” because bullying is not something we as a society want to normalize.
There is however a normal way to respond to bullying.
Schools can prevent bullying by creating a safe environment. Schools can also stop bullying by taking swift action when bullying occurs, through enforcing clearly defined rules consistently for children and offering counseling services to affected children.
What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied
If your child reports being bullied, immediately alert their teachers and other relevant staff members at your child’s school.
Take note of how your school responds and the effectiveness of the strategies they implemented.
When to Be Concerned About Bullying at School
Since there is no such thing as “normal bullying,” chances are you will be concerned the whole time. That is perfectly understandable.
You should be concerned about bullying if your child’s school fails to respond to the bullying or even makes it worse.
If the school does not take meaningful action and the problem persists without intervention, it can create a hostile learning environment for your child.
Long term this can have negative impacts on your child and cause problems such as
- Cutting or Avoiding School
- Not signing up for extracurriculars
- Disrupted learning
- Declining grades
- Anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts
If your child is experiencing a severe mental health crisis and you fear they may hurt themselves or others call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Your child’s school has to take allegations of bullying seriously, as it can impact your child in such a severe manner if left unchecked.
If they fail to do so or even encourage bullying through treating your child differently, that can be a form of discrimination.
What does the Law Say?
The United States has no federal law that dictates what a school has to do if someone is being bullied.
However, schools receive government funding. All government-funded organizations must comply with federal civil rights laws.
If the bullying is based on your child’s disability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious background, or nationality and the school does nothing, this is considered a discriminatory practice.
For more information please click here.
What to do if they don’t Respond
If your school does not respond to bullying, be on the lookout for other signs of discriminatory practices in the school.
Begin advocating for your child’s well-being. You’ll have to talk to the staff about discrimination against children with special needs. Check out our blog post for tips and tricks!
You should also begin keeping track of all instances of bullying and your attempts to contact the school staff and administrations about the issue. Make sure to keep track of other discriminatory practices your child experiences in the building.
When to Call a Lawyer
If you are concerned that bullying at school is violating your child’s civil rights you should call a personal injury. A lawyer will be able to discuss the specifics of your case and what your legal options are.
We at Cueto Law are always happy to take your call at 618-277-1554.