What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied by a Teacher

When we think of bullying, we conjure up images of a bigger, older child or group of children picking on another student. It's not usually our concern that our child will deal with being bullied by a teacher. The shock comes when your child comes home and reports, “My teacher is mean to me.”

In an anonymous survey, 45% of teachers admitted to having bullied a student. In another survey, up to 2% of teachers admitted to bullying on a regular basis.

So, How do you handle it if your child has become the target of a teacher bully? How do you even know if it's happening? These suggestions will help you find out if your child is being bullied by a teacher, and what you can do about it.

Talk Regularly About School

Make an effort to initiate conversations about school with your child and encourage them to be open about their experiences. This gives your child plenty of chances to speak up about anything that might be bothering them.

If your child complains of being picked on, pay attention. Take note if a particular teacher's name comes up often.

Get the Facts

Sometimes kids tell fibs. Whether it's in your child's character to tell a lie or not, it's worth getting some more information before you start pointing fingers.

If your child comes to you in haste, ask them about the incident a little later, when they've had a chance to calm down. Is it possible that they were making it out to be a big deal, when it wasn't? Try to find out what actions led up to the incident, what your child did, and how the teacher reacted.

Ask for names of witnesses in your child's class, and contact their parents to ask if they remember the incident.

If your child is adamant that they are being mistreated in school, and you have no reason to believe otherwise, stick up for them. You are your child's best advocate. The school and the teacher may brush off your child's feelings, but you should not.

Assure your child that you will do whatever it takes to resolve the issue.

Arrange a Meeting

Arrange a meeting with the principal so that you and your child can sit down and discuss the situation. This will give your child a chance to tell their side of the story, and be assured of the principal's plan of action.

The principal may also wish to arrange a meeting between you and the teacher. I don't think your child should be present for this meeting, as it could cause them to feel intimidated by the teacher. Let the teacher know that you will follow up with your child regularly, to gauge how things are going in class.

No child deserves to be bullied. One of the best ways to safeguard your child against bullying is to be an active and present parent, who knows what is happening in your child's everyday life. Nothing says, “Stop bullying my child” than letting the bully know that you are watching!

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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