School's out for the day and you're home with your child. He's sad and uninterested in doing the usual fun stuff he does after school. When you question his demeanor, he begins to whimper. That's when you learn your little boy has been teased and hit. He has been bullied ... and it's still going on. After comforting your boy, you calm yourself and e-mail his teacher. What happens next — or doesn't happen — is sometimes anyone's guess.
One local mom is going through an ignored bullying situation with her child now.
"Since day one of kindergarten my son said he was getting picked on. That kids pulled his hair and hit him," she says. The mom did what any parent would do — she e-mailed the teacher who agreed to meet her. But then the teacher canceled the meeting. "Then, every time she offered me a new date, she came up with an excuse why she could not meet!" the mom says.
When the teacher doesn't help the situation, another approach is necessary.
Local Parents Weigh In
"You are your son's only voice right now, speak LOUDLY!," says Stephanie Smith. And parents agree. First and foremost, every parent of a bullied child should take a stand for him. And, if a request to meet a teacher falls on deaf ears, seek help elsewhere.
"I would go sit in the office until the principal and teacher could meet. If the bullying was not resolved in an appropriate time after that, I'd go to the school board," says Toni Morgan Carver.
If you feel that you've done all you can to get the teacher's attention to no avail, then it's time to go higher up.
"Go straight to the principal and the school board," says Ashley Stevens. "If you do not get any cooperation, get your local news station involved!" Stevens says that a teacher avoiding a parental concern is absurd.
"That is part of a teacher's job, to protect the children," Stevens says. "The fact she canceled multiple times shows, in my opinion, that she doesn't really care. "
Don't Worry About the Teacher
Some parents begin to question their actions. Will going above the teacher's head help the situation, or could it backfire?
"I don't know anything will change even if you go to the principal," says local mom Sue Chiappone Moore. "Sometimes if bullying continues, especially in kindergarten, it's part of the school culture. There's always two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle is the truth. So, I think meeting with the principal and the teacher together would be a good course of action — with the child, too. This can be a starter lesson in him learning to advocate for himself."
Your approach to a bullying situation is key. Handle it the moment you know about it, and if you do not get a response within 24 hours, keep at it until you do.