Parents

Bullying is:

  • Deliberate, intentional written, electronic, verbal or physical acts.
  • Repeated conduct.
  • Hitting, punching, shoving, threatening physical violence.
  • Repeated name calling and taunting.
  • An imbalance of power – bullies pick on kids they perceive as weaker or more vulnerable.

Help your child stand up to bullying.

  • Anyone can be a target of bullying.
  • Kids need help when bullied – do not ignore it. Bullying is
    not a rite of passage, and it is never ok.
  • Review the Teens Page on this website with your child – it has strategies to help your child stand up to bullying and avoid being the target of bullying.
  • Adult supervision is key to preventing bullying.
  • Teach your child to avoid being alone in school bathrooms, hallways and locker rooms, and avoid walking home alone or riding in the back of the school bus, anywhere where supervision by adults is restricted.
  • For a great resources on bullying, what it is, and how to help your teen, click www.kivaprogram.net/parents/.

Cyber-bullying – what it is and what you can do about it:

  • With Facebook, Twitter, iChat, texting (and “sexting”), kids today are bombarded with media that makes it much easier for kids to bully each other. This is the world of cyber-bullying.
  • Talk to your kids. Supervise and/or talk about their online activities.
  • If your child is on Facebook, create your own account, and have your child “friend” you so that you can be aware of what’s being posted.
  • Develop clear rules about what is and what is not appropriate online. Decide on fair consequences and follow through consistently.
  • Tell your child not to respond to the bully’s tweets, texts, posts or instant messages (it may make the situation worse). Work with your child to come up with a solution (don’t let them go it alone).
  • Understand internet safety measures including Facebook protections. Teach your child to set up Facebook pages that limit access to their friends, and monitor who they “friend” on Facebook.
  • Take screen shots of the online posts, and take pictures of texts.
  • If the bullying persists or escalates, you may need to contact an attorney or the police. Don’t give up.

Who can I turn to for help?

Working with the school. Every school is required to develop a school-wide bullying prevention program. Ask for it or look in the student handbook for it.

  • Every school employee that has reliable information that a person is the target of bullying MUST report it to the administration.
  • Every incident of suspected bullying must be reported to the administration and the State Department of Education.
  • The administration must investigate alleged bullying, report it, and if there’s a finding, impose appropriate consequences.
  • The school must also prohibit retaliation or false accusation against a target or witness of bullying.
  • Schools are required to communicate with medical professionals treating children suffering from bullying.
  • If you know your child is being bullied at school, or you suspect bullying, report it to the school administration and request them to investigate it. Be sure to ask if there are any formalized procedures to follow when making a bullying report.
  • Follow up with the school and make sure it reports bullying incidents to the Delaware Department of Education.

If your child’s school doesn’t respond to your concerns, who can you turn to for help?

  • You can call the State Department of Education’s School Climate and Discipline Office, 302-735-4060, or
  • You can call the Department of Justice’s School Crimes and Bullying Hotline, 1-800-220-5414.

Working with the authorities. Bullying can also be a crime under state or federal law. Such crimes can include assault, battery, offensive touching, unlawful imprisonment, and harassment (depending on the circumstances). Examples of bullying behavior that could be a crime:

  • Threats of violence
  • Child pornography and “sexting”
  • Taking a photo image of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
  • Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
  • Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Extortion – taking a person’s lunch money, clothing and other personal items.
  • If your child is the target of bullying, consider reporting it yourself to the Delaware Department of Justice by calling the School Crimes and Bullying Hotline: 1-800-220-5414. If there is an immediate risk to your child, please call 911.

Click here for more resources on bullying.

Is my child a bully? (Click on link for more information about kids who bully.)