According to stopbullying.gov more than 28 percent of students in middle school through high school grades admit to being bullied and 70 percent of students admit to observing it happening in their schools.
That number seems low considering all the violence heard on the news each day taking place in the American school. It’s also alarming when parents share that they have had more than one situation where a child being bullied was their own. I relate.
I recently had the opportunity to see bullying stopped in action with my own daughter receiving a death threat by a peer in her class.
My daughter, due to her general popularity as the new kid on the block, gained the dislike of another student who informed several classmates of her desire to do serious harm.
As often as the student body in that institution had been told to inform a teacher immediately when something like this happened, the test of peer-confidentiality proved to be strong.
However, my daughter was smart enough to tell me as soon as she was picked up from school. A quick email to the director, and then a series of meetings with parents, other students, and the would-be-bully resulted in a confrontation between her and my daughter under adult supervision.
The bullying stopped, but more important than that a valuable lesson was taught swiftly to all parties involved. If a bully is confronted immediately, there is a possibility of deflating the problem. Of course, some will only find a new way to try to do what they will.
The one thing that really seemed to ring true in this incident is that the child who was so angry that they felt like lashing out to a new student really wanted to feel acceptance with the group and the competition was something she was unable to handle — a life skill moment.
Although there are situations when this will not work, and more stringent circumstances require parents to get involved, these are good ways to start. Personally, I think that a no tolerance policy across the board is the most important way to go. All too often bullies find a way when boundaries are too relaxed in a school setting.
Some parents have taken to enrolling their child in martial arts or some form of self-defense, too. With the average student more likely to be bullied in school than anywhere else in their childhood, parents need to be more involved in the conversation.
According to the US National Library of Medicine’s 2017 survey, only 16.5 percent of parents have had a conversation about online bullying with their school-aged children and a gap between advice for parents provided by schools on how to handle it when it happens to their own child.