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The Response To School Bullying

The experience of being bullied or of parenting a child who is being bullied is not easy. Every situation is unique, but there are things that should always be done when bullying occurs. Schools cannot ignore bullying. Neither can they afford to respond in an uneven, unpredictable or unreliable way. School boards and administrators are accountable for the action or inaction they take to prevent or address bullying behavior. Despite the necessity of an effective bullying and harassment policy, parents and victims of bullying receive a wide range of responses when they report unacceptable conduct.

The New Jersey anti-bullying law requires schools to record events of harassment, intimidation or bullying. That said, it is important for parents to document incidents of bullying as well. It is not unusual for students engaged in bullying to accuse their victims of similar offenses. The victims of bullying may even end up being punished based on accusations that they were responsible for confrontations. Similarly, parents of victims are discouraged from directly contacting the parents of bullying children. Your desire to protect your child is laudable, but you do not want to be accused of harassment based on your attempts to protect your child. 

No incident of bullying should be ignored. Report any bullying activity to school administrators. If your report is ignored or the response fails to correct the problem, it may be time to contact an attorney to assert your rights. Bullying can make going to school an ordeal. It is a scourge that must be addressed effectively to protect every child's right to an education. Schools play a large part in making sure children feel safe enough to receive that education.

Source: Yahoo Parenting, "'Our Kids Were Bullied:' Parents Share Their Stories," by Sasha Brown-Worsham, 21 July 2015 

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