With the school holidays over and children starting their new school year or moving to new schools they will probably be nervous of making new friends, getting to know their new teachers and with bullying and its consequences being in the news quite a bit recently will not help.
While you may not be able to stop bullying starting, do not sit back and do nothing, bullying can happen at anytime to anyone and takes many forms – report it and nip it in the bud before it gets out of hand.
Make sure you know your schools behaviour policy – every state school (by law) must have a behaviour policy in place that has measures to prevent bullying and how to deal with it. This is decided by the school so will vary from school to school. All teachers, pupils and parents must be told what it is.
Also report any issues around children being bullied – if you think your child or someone else is being bullied at school you should always report in the first instance to the school (or tell the police if a crime has been committed). Also keep a note of when the bullying happened and in the case of cyberbullying keep a record of the date and time of the calls, emails or texts – don’t delete any messages you receive.
Head Teachers in state schools also have legal powers to make their pupils behave outside of school (public transport, town centres etc…) so just because a bullying attack happens away from the school premises still inform the school so they can try to deal with it.
While there is no legal definition of bullying it can take many forms such as teasing, name calling, making threats, violent attacks and cyberbullying and is often repeated and intended to hurt emotionally or physically and in a lot of cases aimed at certain groups because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Check with your school for their definition of bullying.
If you are worried about your child being bullied you can always speak to the school or there are some great organisations that can offer some help and advice:
Bullying is never acceptable and no child should be subjected to it but by giving children the facts and the means to report it to parents, teachers or speak to an advisor from the organisations above maybe more can be done to combat it.