Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

How to Address Bullying

06/24/2017 | Published by: Family to Family Network

Some may think that bullying is a harmless rite of childhood that everyone experiences. IT IS NOT! Bullying can have a negative and far-reaching impact on a student’s life. 

Bullying is not limited to physical harm; it occurs in many forms. Gossiping, purposeful exclusion, insulting, and verbal taunting are all forms of bullying. Cyberbullying has become a prevalent form of bullying, where mean and inappropriate comments are posted on social media. 

Sometimes, a child is reluctant to tell anyone that they are being bullied. There could be many reasons for this. The bully may have threatened the child. The child may fear that if they report the person, the bullying won’t stop or may become worse, or that the bully will harm a friend or family member.

If you suspect your child is being bullied, report the incident(s) immediately to school personnel. It is important to get help for the child right away. School counselors and other professionals should be consulted. 

Yet, no matter how diligent teachers and administrators are, bullying still happens. It can happen in bathrooms, hallways, playgrounds, and on social media, where students are often the only ones around to police themselves.  

What can help:

  • Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center is a good resource. Check out their Top 10 facts that parents, educators, and students should know http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/students-with-disabilities/. On this site, there are template letters parents can use to inform the school when their child has been bullied. Parents need to document the events and develop a record (or history) of what is happening to their child. 
  • Peer advocacy—i.e., students speaking out on behalf of others—empowers students to protect those targeted by bullying. Ask if there is a peer advocacy program on your school’s campus. If not, talk to your school officials to see about starting a Bullying Prevention Program at your child’s school.
  • Teach your child to be a self-advocate. Self-advocacy skills help children gain confidence in speaking up for themselves and knowing their rights. These are important skills to help your child throughout their lifetime. Pacer’s Student Action Plan is a good self-advocacy resource.
  • Know the law. All states have laws that address bullying. For a complete overview of Texas state laws, visit StopBullying.gov. Federal law provides legal protections and provisions for students with disabilities who are being discriminated against or harassed. 

You can also learn more about bullying and cyber-bullying on the Texas Education Agency website.  

It’s up to the parent and schools to protect our children and to teach them to protect themselves. 

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