Dealing with a School Bully


What should you do, as a parent, when your child is being bullied at school?

Q: Here we are, not more than a week into the school year, and there's an 11-year-old boy classmate who is beginning to bully my son—pushing him in the hall, calling him names, throwing pencils at him in class, and so on. My son, who is shy and doesn't have a lot of friends to begin with, reacts to all this, which throws fuel on the fire. I've talked with him about possible solutions and he's already moved away from the boy in one class. I want him to solve the problem. Am I being unrealistic?

Time will tell whether you're being unrealistic or not. This is the age at which bullies begin to come out of the woodwork and target vulnerable kids like your son. I think you're right to expect your son to try to solve the problem, but the fact remains that he may not be able to. It is the rare 11-year-old who has the emotional control required to ignore taunting and other acts of humiliation. It is the school's responsibility to provide a safe learning environment. That means they are obligated to protect children from both physical and emotional harm. If this continues, and it becomes obvious that your son's efforts aren't working, then you should inform the school of the problem and make it clear that you expect them to do whatever it takes to solve it.

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