Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
The “New York Times” previously reported on an attack of a Philadelphia boy on the way home from school by 7 youths. The boy was beaten by a group and then left hanging from a high fence. Prior to that, the student had been kicked, dragged, punched, and placed upside down in a tree according to the author of the article, John Hurdle. Don’t let this happen to your child.
Bullying Warning Signs Were Present Prior To The Student Being Left Hanging From The Fence
I would suspect this was not the first situation involving these boys bullying and harming students. There must have been warning signs. For example, I bet:
1) There was a history of targeting the victim prior to this incident at school.
2) The school knew about the targeting and/or they knew about other incidents involving the attackers.
3) The school did nothing and/or did not do enough.
4) The parents did not ask the right questions of their son about what was going on at school, and/or they did not jump all over the bullying and harassment situation to get the school to act.
Never ever presume the schools ARE doing their jobs adequately. Parents must stay involved. Parents ALWAYS need to know what is going on to ensure the schools are doing what they are supposed to do. Students usually will not report issues to school staff on their own and feel they have no power. If school officials don’t notice something is going on with a student and take action, parents must step in. I have heard too many horror stories to believe otherwise.
Schools Must Act To Prevent Known Bullying
Schools are under an obligation to take action when they know student bullying or targeting is occurring. They can punish the students involved (see California Education Code sections 48900(r) and 48900.4) and ensure the bullying is ended by informing staff to watch and step in to prevent victimization of a student. Sadly, it is not infrequent for students to be targeted while the school ignores a known situation. Often the parents have verbally told the school, but the school has done nothing.
Twelve Actions To Take To Stop The Bullying
1) Talk to your kids every single day about what is going on at school. Really get into any school problems students are having and who the problems are with.
2) Go observe the student at school. Get advanced permission from the school. Then, sit and watch what is going on with your child from a distance.
3) If anything comes up in your discussions and/or observation of the student involving repetitive taunting, pushing, bullying, etc. note this down. Keep a daily journal of what is going with the student being bullied, where it happens, and who is involved.
4) If things are bad, and/or physical at all, send a formal letter to the school regarding what is going happening to the student. Ask for a meeting and action by the school. Repeat as needed.
5) Meet with the school administration and develop a plan to stop the student bullying. Bring a list of items you WANT put in place for the bullied student, such as a shadow to follow the student, a meeting with the other kids’ parents, daily email on what is going on, etc. This list will be unique to each student, depending on the situation.
6) If the school ignores you, send your letter to the Superintendent.
7) If the student continues to be bullied and harassed, send polite DAILY LETTERS outlining what is occurring at school to the student. Paper trails are great for making schools act or proving they didn’t act to stop bullying.
8) You can also file a complaint in writing with the school district, or could even go to your local grand jury to file a complaint if you are getting nowhere.
10) Pick up the student or walk them to/from school if possible.
11) Protect your kids. If the school and district are non-responsive, you must still protect the bullied student as a first action, while resolving the problems. This may mean parent supervision at school as needed, independent study, or even transfer to another school, etc. The most important thing, regardless of the school, is preventing the student from being beaten or killed. You do not want to have your child to end up beaten and hanging from a fence.
12) Learn learn learn about student bullying, the laws surrounding bullying, and parental rights. For example, check out websites like stopbullying.gov
The school has the power to address student bullying as it sees fit, BUT parents can influence what the school does by providing a list of what the parent thinks will solve the problems.
Don’t neglect student bullying. Step in to get it handled. Parents must take control to the degree they can, or a student may be left hanging beaten from a fence or worse.
Michelle Ball, student lawyer, assists with bullying at school, harassment, discrimination, maltreatment and other school problems. Being an education attorney in Sacramento, she can help throughout California, in towns such as Manteca, Chico, Bakersfield, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Roseville and other locations.
[originally published on February 2, 2011]