Dear Your Teen:
If a teen or tween is being bullied in school, realistically what can a parent expect the teacher to do to help? And how should a parents broach the subject in a way that is best suited to achieving results?
Schools are full of people who care deeply about the well-being of children. As such, the vast majority of teachers will respond if they are clearly informed that a bullying issue is occurring in or near their classroom. It’s important, though, to ask for help in a constructive and thoughtful way. Confrontation will only exacerbate the problem. To this end, one educator shares his thoughts on how best to go about this below.
Talking to a teacher for help
When speaking with the teacher, do so calmly and provide as much detail about times and locations of the bullying behavior as possible. Ask the teacher to partner with you to resolve the issue. Ask the teacher if there are behaviors you can address with your child that may help to make things easier.
The teacher can be expected to monitor the emotional climate of his or her classroom and provide a safe environment for your child. The teacher cannot be expected to see and respond to every incident of bullying behavior in the course of a school day, as so much of this behavior is intentionally hidden from adult view.
However, when alerted to a concern, the teacher can be expected to proactively respond, in terms of reviewing class-wide rules against bullying behavior, changing seating arrangements in order to discourage bullying interactions and to monitor partner and group work assignments so as not to inadvertently create undue exposure to victimization for the student experiencing bullying behavior.
Jason Culp is the Head of Upper School, at Lawrence School in Cleveland, Ohio.