Battling bullies in the classroom may land you in a courtroom. Today, most states, including New York, have anti-bullying laws.
However, for Tracy Klestadt, it took nearly a decade for his daughter's bullying case to be resolved. Students began bullying her in the third grade.
Klestadt shared his daughter's story and case. His attorney, Gary Mayerson, also shared some tips for parents on how to fight back against bullying.
Here are Mayerson's tips for parents to fight bullying:
Most states have now adopted anti-bullying statutes. Bullying normally involves multiple instances of physical and/or psychological abuse and can happen in the classroom, bathroom, recess, on the bus or on the internet. Statistically, “special needs” students with Individualized Education Programs (IEP) are nearly 4x as likely to be bullied than typically developing students.
Tips for parents who believe their child is being bullied:
- Don’t wait for a bullying situation to get better on its own — early intervention is key.
- Investigate the facts quickly. Ask your child questions, take photos if there is visible evidence, write everything down, inform their counselor/therapist (if applicable).
- Let your child know that you are proud of them for informing you (i.e. it’s not their fault they are being bullied).
- Speak with your child’s teacher and consider speaking with the classroom aide or other teachers. Are other students being bullied?
- Make an appointment with the principal if necessary. Request “incident reports” and don’t take “no” for an answer (make sure all communication is in writing).
Tips for parents whose child IS being bullied:
- Press the school district for a plan of remediation.
- If your child has an IEP, consider developing and implementing an “anti-bullying” plan within the four corners of your child’s IEP.
- The bully should suffer consequences — NOT the victim (e.g. the bully should be moved into another classroom or school, not the victim).
- If all efforts at an amicable resolution fail, consult with legal counsel.
For more information, visit mayerslaw.com.