Bullying School Victim Responsibility Children Duty of Care – Yes

Every good parent wants to keep their child safe. Parents raise their children to show respect for their peers. Unfortunately, there are parents who do not teach their children right from wrong or who do nothing when a child does wrong, thus creating bullies.

While parents should do all they can to give their children confidence, to encourage their personality to be something of which they can be proud, there will come a point where the care is no longer in the hands of the parents. Once a child begins school, the parent relinquishes responsibility of care to the teachers and staff of the school while the child is there.

A child is always ultimately the responsibility of the parents or main carers, those particular adults are expected to hand over their children for so many hours a day. No good and thoughtful parent who cares for their children would want to leave those children with people they did not trust to take care of them. If a parent, for example, had left children with another adult for day care services, they would – presumably – ensure that the children would be safe and would remove them if this were not the case.

Of course, in a school, it is simply impractical for every parent to check up on every teacher within a school. But, in most civilised societies, it is expected that adults employed within such professions will be suitable for the role. Whether teachers and other education professionals like it or not, part of their role is, has always been and always will be, to combat bullying.

Once a child is at school, the amount of education they have been given by their parents is irrelevant when it comes to bullying. There are so many reasons – or excuses – why children (or adults) become bullies. While it may be difficult to eradicate it completely, any adult who is responsible for any child has a duty of care. This duty of care includes keeping children safe.

If a child were to injure themselves on, say, sports equipment because the equipment was unsafe or because the child had not been appropriately supervised, then the school would be responsible and there should be consequences for those involved if the parents choose to act upon it. If a child is abused by another child within the school then this is also down to the school. It shows a lack of both supervision and discipline. Of course, it could be argued that the fault lies with the bully or the parents of the bully and, up to a point, this is accurate. The bully has chosen the behaviour and, perhaps, their parents could have taught them better. However, unreasonable behaviour shown by children within a school should be noted and checked by the supervising adult.

While there may be theories about why people become bullies or how to stop them, this is little consolation for the victims. Schools have a responsibility to keep their pupils safe as they have been trusted to care for those children by their parents. No parent wants to think that someone in whom they have put such a great trust would not give the best care they possibly could.