The first line of defense for school bullying is the classroom teacher. A parent can contact their child’s teacher, using the prescribed method of communication with that teacher, to discuss the issue. Typically, the teacher can provide the parent with a copy of the school district’s anti-bullying policy which would include an incident report.
When filling out the incident report, school personnel will need as much information as you can provide. Have your child provide you with the name of the child or children engaged in the inappropriate behavior, the approximate time of the incident, the name of any students or adults who were in the area wherein the alleged bullying occurred, and any other information they can remember from the incident. The more information that can be provided to school personnel, the faster the investigation can be conducted.
The incident report usually is filed with the building principal. It would be helpful if a parent could meet with the principal to address the issue.
When you visit with the administration, know that they will conduct an unbiased investigation into the allegations. They cannot assume that the facts you are providing them are the facts in their entirety.
Following the investigation, corrective action will be taken if a determination is made that the allegations are an accurate accounting of the incident. The school district cannot legally disclose the punishment that will be provided to the student without the written permission of that student’s parent. However, your child will most likely be able to tell you what has changed in their classroom environment if the alleged perpetrator was a classmate.
The most important thing a parent can do with regard to bullying is to keep the lines of communication open with your child, your child’s teachers and the school administrator. School personnel will monitor behavior between your child and the student during school hours and at school events. You will need to monitor your child and any interaction between your child and the alleged bully during nonschool hours.
School administrators work diligently to make sure all of the children in their building are safe. Know that your child’s safety is always a top priority.
Miller is general counsel and director of policy services for the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.