BULLYING happens in every school and it is one of the most likely causes of contact between parents and teachers.
Unfortunately it can also be one of the most difficult problems to solve and if it is not handled properly can lead to a huge rift between the school and a family and to an even more miserable child.
Hopefully you will never need it but parents should know every school in Australia has an anti-bullying policy.
It is a requirement of the Australian Federal Government and part of the National Safe Schools Framework.
It might be on your school website under a heading such as School Welfare.
Certainly the school office staff will be able to give you a copy if you ask.
The policy should have a very clear explanation of the types of behaviour that are unacceptable, including cyber bullying, and the procedures followed if a child is bullied by someone from school.
It should tell a parent how to go about reporting the bullying to teachers.
My advice is to follow this as closely as you can, including collecting any evidence you have of the bullying.
I know parents can become upset and angry enough to approach the bully or the bully’s family themselves.
However this can be the worst possible thing to do, especially within school grounds. You could be legally banned from entering the school ever again and your action could make you the problem, taking the focus away from the bullying completely. The way you contact a teacher about bullying can also be crucial.
Always tell the child’s immediate teacher first and don’t get angry or blame them.
Rather, put it as a problem that your child is having that you need their help to solve.
Schools today are very aware of how bullying can escalate and how it can lead to other major or long-term problems for a child.
Both public and private schools in NSW have been successfully sued by students for not dealing effectively with school bullying.