Be vigilant when it comes to bullying in our schools

Published 6:49 am Friday, August 25, 2006

By Staff
Another school year begins and with it hopefully some problems in our schools in the past may be eliminated with a combination of education and parental involvement.
Bullying, whether physically, or even through the Internet, has been identified as a problem among our school-age children. Locally speakers have been brought in to inform parents and school staff about how to identify the problem.
Solutions have included peer groups formed at many of our schools, where other students help solve problems.
Teachers have listened to experts on how to console the victims and treat the bullies and administrations have added consequences in the school handbooks and outlined punishments.
A large part of the equation is parental involvement. Don't dismiss a child who says they are being bullied, without actually finding out the facts can cause the child to lose trust in the parent. Likewise, accepting their child's version without finding out what really happened can also be unwise.
Parents need to talk to the child before incidents happen so instead of being embarrassed and uncertain of who to talk to, the child will seek help.
Young children are sensitive to remarks made about their clothes, hair or abilities. They need reassurance that they are normal and have worth.
Where once notes were passed threatening or calling another a name, is now done by text messaging or e-mail. Finding the perpetrator is a bit more difficult.
The following tips are offered from anti-bullying programs:
Teach your kids to tell adults if they're bullied.
Make sure your school has a proven anti-bullying program.
Watch for signs that your child may be a victim.
Keep computers in common areas of homes.
Be alert to signs of fear, shame or other behavior which might indicate your child is being bullied. Keep communication open and definitely don't allow them to become the victim or the one who is doing the bullying.