A 10-year old girl in Belleville Ontario is taking a stand against bullying at her school. She says verbal and physical attacks toward her have been ongoing and she has had enough. She wrote a letter explaining details about the bullying she has been experiencing. She says she spends recess in the kindergarten room because nobody will play with her, and explains that she feels alienated and dejected. Her mother believes that the school staff is not protecting her daughter.
These are certainly serious allegations. Although I don’t know all the details surrounding the situation, I have a few suggestions to hopefully calm the waters.
1. I encourage the girl’s parents to set up a meeting with the teacher. Have a list of concerns to address and suggested outcomes. Take notes. Insist on a specific plan of action.
2. After 5 days, re-evaluate the situation. Has the bullying stopped? Has the situation improved? If not, set up a meeting with the principal and make a written plan. Set a date for a follow-up meeting to talk about whether or not things have improved. No child should feel unsafe at school.
3. Ask to see the bullying prevention action plan set out by the school. Ask what initiatives have been put into place to encourage respect and reduce bullying. Insist that you are looking out for the well-being of your child.
Do not give up. Continue to connect with the teacher or administrators to carry out the plan of action. If the plan of action is not working, insist on an alternative. Be aware of the Hasting and Prince Edward District School Board’s commitment to providing caring, safe, respectful and inclusive learning environments for all students. Do your best to remain calm and professional, yet strong with your assertions that your child be provided with the caring, safe and respectful environment referred to by the school board.
I will be most interested in the outcome of this situation and am optimistic it will come to a positive conclusion for all involved.
Bruce Langford provides bullying prevention programs for schools. www.brucelangford.ca