SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS
WHEN DEALING WITH BULLYING
By Brenda High, Co-Director and Founder of Bully Police USA - Download: http://www.bullypolice.org/dealing_with_bullying.pdf, for a printable copy.
I know how parents feel when they realize their child has been bullied at school. In your mind, you want to immediately run down to your child's school, grab some Administrator or Teacher by the throat, and yell at him/her. However, stay calm and think about how your child is feeling. They probably did not want to come to you and tell you about the bullying because they believe that if you say or do something about it, the bullying might get worse. Sometimes they are right in their fears, but if your complaint process is handled right, more often than not, the bullying will stop.
Get the story of the bullying as correct as possible
from your child
Think about how you will approach the school
Request a daily update from your school, and from the teacher, if the bullying happened in his/her classroom. A “fair” amount of time is about one school week. Remind your school that every day your child is being bullied is like an eternity to him/her and your child wants the bullying to stop. .
After communicating with an administrator, write a recap of what was said. Fax a copy to the administrator and ask them to correct or change anything that is incorrect or any misunderstandings. Let the administrator know that you will be doing this so that he/she is clear about your desire to solve the bullying. This will assure all parties involved that solutions to the bullying of your child are what you want for an outcome.
Try hard to control the anger you may be having over the bullying. The “poison pen” document full of anger will not accomplish anything and administrator and teachers may have the natural reaction to become angry back. We are all human, well most of us are all human ?. Administrators will be more willing to help if you act and write statements about your child's bullying situation in a mature and diplomatic way. Keeping and sharing detailed documents will help the school admit that they have a problem with bullying and that they must take responsibility.
Online Bullying or Cyberbullying
You may feel that you cannot do anything about online bullying because you cannot find the cyberbully. This may not always be true. Computer specialists can track down internet provider addresses of offending websites, and there are computer whizzes that are making a living off fines collected from email spammers. Some police departments have hired these specialists to work in their criminal investigation departments and a good computer and internet investigator is in high demand. If your son or daughter is getting threatening email, your local police department may be able to help or lead you to a private investigator with computer skills. If the emails are terrorist type threats, report this immediately to the police, who will then report it to the F.B.I.
Parents sign a service agreement when they sign up
for internet services
WebPages - By applying to register a domain name, or by asking us to maintain or renew a domain name registration, you hereby represent and warrant to us that (a) the statements that you made in connection with such application for registration, maintenance, or renewal are complete and accurate; (b) to your knowledge, the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party; (c) you are not registering the domain name for an unlawful purpose; and (d) you will not knowingly use the domain name in violation of any applicable laws or regulations. You agree and acknowledge that it is your responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights...
YOU REPRESENT THAT, TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF, NEITHER THE REGISTRATION OF THE DOMAIN NAME YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR NOR THE MANNER IN WHICH IT IS INTENDED TO BE OR IS DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY USED INFRINGES THE LEGAL RIGHTS OF A THIRD PARTY.
How law enforcement can get your information - …may disclose personal information about Visitors or Members, or information regarding your use of the Services or Web sites accessible through our Services, for any reason if, in our sole discretion, we believe that it is reasonable to do so, including: to satisfy laws, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, regulations, or governmental or legal requests for such information; to disclose information that is necessary to identify, contact, or bring legal action against someone who may be violating our Acceptable Use Policy or other user policies; to operate the Services properly; or to protect our Members.
The parents of students who are doing the bullying may be liable for the emotional damages caused by their child to another child. If the cyberbullys’ parents know what is going on (or had received a letter of complaint), they have “knowledge and notice” of harmful activity. The parents are paying for the telephone bill and internet charges into their home – they are legally responsible for the acts of their children while on the computer and in their care. Parents can be sued for damages.
Inform your school administrators about the cyberbullying your child is experiencing. If cyberbullying happens on school time or with school computers, schools come under the “knowledge and notice” rule. If, while a child is being cyberbullied, he/she is threatened to be “beat up” or assaulted while they are in school, the schools must take responsibility for activities that follow a child from their home to their school.
"I was just reading through http://www.jaredstory.com/bullying_whattodo.html ... and I thought I'd pass along some inside information for your section on online bullying. I used to work at a large Canadian ISP owned by Tucows, and part of my job there was to deal with abuse complaints. I was also responsible for much of the early research done by the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (www.caip.ca) on spam and abuse. I left the industry in the late 90's but I still maintain some contacts in the business.
"Call the ISP, and ask to speak to a customer service manager. Explain the situation and ask them if you will require a court order to identify a bully. We were only too happy to help, but could not release private information without a court order, because of privacy laws. Some ISPs may give you that information freely, but if they give you the bully's identity without a court order, that identification might get thrown out of court later on, so it is in your own best interest to secure that first.
"The other thing I always told complainants was to be on their 100% best, most courteous behavior no matter what the bully says to them online. I know it isn't fair to be told you can't tell a bully what a jerk they are ...but if you are as nasty to them as they are to you, the ISP administrator could decide the exchange is essentially mutual. I had to do that quite a few times - things had gotten so bad, that it was impossible to tell who had started things, and neither side was prepared to be the first to let it go. If you are always polite, and insist only that the bully leave you alone, or better yet, do that once and do not respond to them at all, it will be clear who the bully really is.
"There are also technological tools that can help deal with online bullies. Most Instant Messenger programs, and virtually all email and Usenet readers have what we old time Internet folks call "twit filters". They can be called filters or "rules" in some programs. Look in the help files for them. Just block the bully out. Online, it does not pay to "fight back". Block them, ignore them, filter them out.
"Where this will not work is when a bully posts threatening or defamatory information on a web page. It is very important that before you complain that you PRINT THE PAGE. The ISP won't likely keep a copy, nor will they monitor it. That is up to you. Keep it in your "bully binder" where you keep your other documentation. Find the ISP's "Terms of Service" document - many of them have abuse pages where they post what they will and won't tolerate. We took down many sites without requiring a court order - because they were threatening or defamatory, they were in clear violation of our TOS.
"You may want to monitor web sites for your child's name - the search sites, like Google, can be useful for this. Google even has an "alerts" page http://www.google.com/alerts?hl=en that will email you when new pages are posted with keywords you specify ... I do not know how comprehensive this is, but it is worth a shot, and it is free. The ISP won't do this - they don't have the technology, nor will they ever choose to have it, there is too much liability for them. They rely on people to complain when they find objectionable material, rather than actively seeking it out.
"You may also use tools like http://www.spectorsoft.com/ to monitor your child's Internet use if you believe that they are being bullied but will not speak up about it. This program, and others like it, will help in capturing every possible instance of online bullying in just about all the different programs your child may use. You might not like the idea of spying on your child, but if you do nothing, the outcome could be far worse." Brandi Jasmine - Stop Bullying Now!
Written Notes – Phone bullies
If your child is being bullied in phone conversations, try to get the verbal bullying on your answering machine or on tape. Make it a habit not to answer the telephone right away. Wait for the answering machine to pick up a message. If it is for someone else, the family member can just pick up the phone. Get caller ID and take a picture of the number that the call is coming from. This will document the phone number, date the call came in, and time of day. Taping someone's conversation without his or her consent cannot be used in court but using a recorded message left on a message machine CAN be used in court. Have your child record in a notebook everything the bully said. Written notes can also be used in court.
You can also call the telephone company and get their advice on handling threatening phone calls. If the phone company feels you have basis (and your written record will help), they can trace and record threatening calls for you.
Some bullying must require immediate and swift action
Serious offenses must be handled by the police and entered on the abuser or perpetrator's police record or Juvenile Record. School Administrators can take some actions against bullies and perpetrator(s) but they are not police officers and they open themselves up to lawsuits when they fail to report this type of violent bullying.
There are assault and battery laws that pertain to juvenile offenders. Do not wait. Tell the police right away and have a report written up.
With the proof you have collected, especially when there has been physical violence, obtain a restraining order.
Its time to spill the beans
There is a feeling of empowerment, and healing, that comes to people who tell their stories. The same is true for bullied kids. Encourage your child to write their stories and begin to talk about what they are going through. They can tell a parent, counselor, teacher, administrator, a lawmaker, and the news media or even write a book. Help your son or daughter make decisions that will be proactive and work towards a positive solution to their bullying problem.
What to do when the administrators or teachers will
Now the parent has to go on a “mission” to save their child. Here are some things a parent can do to bring awareness to the school.
Bullying is an adult problem
Tell administrators that you will discuss your child's problems when they have resolved the bullying.
Consider getting your Child Welfare Authorities involved
When to call an attorney
Going to the top for help
Be sure and read up on how to get a good anti bullying law at the www.bullypolice.org website. Do your homework. Obtain copies of your State law and your school district policies regarding bullying, harassment, and your child's right to a safe learning environment. If your school does not have a policy, insist that they get one and volunteer to get on the committee to write it.
Its time that every school in America has a clear direction, by common sense laws, to stop the hurt and pain that goes on every day in a place where our children should feel safe and secure. .
It only takes one voice to make a difference.
In the aftermath – how to help your child heal
Consider getting your child in to see a Counselor or Therapist. Check with the school district to see if they have any qualified counselors, who have dealt with bullying and the conditions it may cause, like depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders. Follow up frequently with the school
See who else in your area has children going through bullying or have children who have dealt with bullying. A positive and proactive approach would be to work with your school district to get a quality anti bullying program into your local schools. This can also be a “healing” activity, to take away the anger that victims of bullying harbor inside. Get creative - Bullying decreases when students, parents and child activists show their numbers, demanding positive changes inside their schools.
Find a healing extracurricular activity. There are Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, self-defense classes, volunteer organizations in the community, church activities, or community events. Do something as a family or perhaps develop a hobby.
Stay united as a family
“Be strong. Turn your anger and disgust into something
positive. You owe it to yourself and your child's academic success and
happiness." Ken Kuczynski, President Power of One Foundation,
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