Bullying, Harassment, Intimidation
OP-ED: Bullying Prevention Must be Everyone’s Concern
By State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT BULLYING AND IT’S HEALTH RISKS?
1. Be aware about bullying and its serious ill effects and explain them to your children.
2. Share this information with other parents, friends, and neighbors.
3. Be encouraged and supported to continue your efforts to nurture a home environment that promotes mutual respect, understanding and support of each other, while it disapproves use of physical or verbal aggression, threats to safety, being made fun of, called derogatory names or being ignored, unwelcomed, or left out.
4. Advocate for the development in your child’s school of a program which has been proven by previous research to be effective in the prevention of bullying. Such a program should include the participation of all students, school personnel, and parents in understanding the problem of bullying and its ill consequences; disapproving it; and promoting a physical and emotional safe school environment that endorses sensitivity, respect, and care.
5. Keep an open dialogue with your children to find out whether they are being physically, verbally, or emotionally mistreated or bullied in and/or out of school or if they are bullying others.
6. Try to stop bullying between siblings by advising your children that this is not “normal sibling rivalry or growing up together” and that bullying can seriously hurt somebody physically or emotionally.
7. Support your child in reporting incidents of bullying to school authorities, in order to insure that the offender is counseled and sensitized about the ill effects of his/her actions on your child, and that your child is protected from further mistreatment.
8. Avoid advising your children to fight back, learn to endure bullying, tease the bully or that bullying is part of growing up.
9. If your child is being bullied in an avoidable setting such as the Internet it should be recommended to stay away from homepages, emails, and social networking that may be abusive.
10. Consider consulting with a health professional if your child is bullied and/or bullies others and presents with physical emotional symptoms and/or risks to his/her safety.
11. Seek a medical/psychiatric assessment if your child is unable to stop bullying others in spite of school counseling and parental intervention.