Bullying affects students every day. Bullies use physical, verbal, and emotional attacks that are communicated in person or via the internet, text messages, or other electronic means. Cyberbullying has become one of the fastest growing forms of bullying as well as the most prevalent. It can be devastating to young people, as it follows them into their homes.
If you believe your child is a victim of bullying, you can help in a variety of ways:
- Talk to your child, ask questions, show support, and act on the information he or she give you.
- Commit to your child that you will help him or her in any bullying situation.
- Work together to make a plan for bullying – whether it happens to your child or if he or she sees it happening to someone else.
- If your child is withdrawing, avoiding school, skipping school, or getting emotional, find out why. Believe him or her and follow your plan.
- Seek professional help if the bullying is negatively affecting your child.
- Contact law enforcement if you think a crime has been committed or seek legal advice.
Under Matt’s Safe School Law, every school is required to adopt an anti-bullying policy. Matt’s Law defines bullying as any “written, verbal, or physical act, or any electronic communication that is intended or that a reasonable person would know is likely to harm one or more pupils.” The policy must name the school officials that are responsible for ensuring its implementation and must have procedures for notifying the parents or legal guardians of a student that has been the target of bullying. Furthermore, the school must have a procedure for reporting an act of bullying and how it investigates bullying incidents.
You can contact your child’s school and ask for a copy of the school’s bullying policy. Become familiar with the Michigan anti-bullying law.