What Can I Do When My Child is Being Bullied at School?

Parents are very concerned when they ask, “My child is being bullied at school – what can I do?”  There is very much now that can be done, even when a school does not co-operate.  When you tell the school, “My child is being bullied at school,” you may not get much action.  It could be that the school is not aware of their responsibility – they may need to be educated!  There are strong Federal Laws and even stronger New York Laws that require schools to monitor for and eliminate bullying.  It is well-established that bullying can cause depression, anxiety and eating disorders – it can even lead to suicide.

The burden on schools to prevent, notice and eliminate bullying has become very high.  A safe learning environment for all students is now a very high priority in New York, and throughout the country.  Despite the efforts of legislators to put pressure on schools to prevent bullying, it is still up to parents to hold schools responsible when they are lax in eliminating bullying.

There are some factors to consider when you suspect your child is being bullied:

  • Physical abuse is when there is an injury to a child’s a child’s body or to their property
  • Verbal abuse is when there “namecalling” or other types of verbal attacks, out loud or in writing.
  • Social abuse is damage to a child’s relationships or reputation, such as rumors or the intentional exclusion from a group
  • The bullying is more actionable the more often it happens
  • The bullying is more serious if there is a real or perceived power imbalance such as a difference in strength or popularity
  • The bullying causes severe harm, including physical, emotional or psychological harm that requires treatment by a professional

FILING A COMPLAINT WITH THE SCHOOL

When you file a bullying complaint with your child’s school, be sure to include the following information:

  • What you believe the basis of the bullying is, for example, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, lifestyle, etc.
  • Include a description of the type of bullying, such as verbal, physical, sexual, rumors, social exclusion, cyberbullying (online,) etc.
  • List every person that is involved in the bullying.  Is it teachers, students or other personnel.
  • State where the bullying occurs, is it in school, in the schoolyard, after school or on the bus.
  • State how long it’s been happening
  • Explain the harm that this has caused to your child, physical, emotional or psychological
  • List the names of all the people that the child has complained to.

EXAMPLES OF BULLYING THAT ARE ACTIONABLE UNDER FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS

Racial:  When racial slurs, threatening taunts or other actions are based on the race of a student.

National Origin:  When the harassment is based on a real or perceived belief about where the child or their families members were born.

Sexual Harassment: When students, usually girls, are taunted about the size of their breasts or other sexually related characteristics.

Disability: When a student is harassed about a real or perceived disability and called things such as “retard” or “cripple.”

If you know or suspect that your child is being bullied at school, the first step is to speak to the parents of the likely bully and the school.  If nothing is being done to eliminate the bullying, you may need an experienced Child Injury Attorney to help you.  See our blog article on bullying at school and call us for FREE CONSULTATION.

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MY CHILD IS BEING BULLIED AT SCHOOL?

WHAT SHOULD I DO?

TAKE ACTION NOW
CALL WITTENSTEIN & WITTENSTEIN FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID
2019-01-17T17:22:55+00:00By |0 Comments

About the Author:

Senior Partner Ms. Wittenstein began working at the firm in 1985 as a managing paralegal, learning all the practices and procedures of the firm from Mr. Wittenstein and the staff. From 1995-1998, she attended CUNY Law School where she made a mark as a teaching assistant for Civil Rights leader Haywood Burns. She founded a Human Rights Delegation to Haiti and studied Constitutional Law with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Working at the Equal Opportunity Employment Commision (EEOC), she learned a great deal about Employment Discrimination matters. She brought her knowledge of the Personal Injury practice and her passion for Civil Rights to the firm when she was admitted to the Bar in 1999. In 2000, she became a partner and the firm name was changed to Wittenstein & Wittenstein, Esqs. PC.

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