What to say to Parents of a Bully

Amanda Todd, age 15, died on October 10th. An apparent suicide that came one month after posting an online video chronicling her years of bullying.

Felicia Garcia, age 15, jumped to her death in New York City as classmates watched.

Zusette Moreno, 13, was attacked by two other girls in a school bathroom in Texas. She was taken to the hospital, and died on November 30, which was also her birthday.

These are just three examples, but unfortunately there are many, many others out there who have suffered at the hands of a bully.

In recent years, bullying has been widely recognized as an epidemic. With the social media advances in the world, bullying can be done more discreetly. It can also be done in front of a larger audience.

The documentary ‘Bully’ has brought increased awareness to bullying. There have also been many organizations and foundations born of this knowledge, helping and offering aid and assistance to those suffering from bullying.

While the focus is usually on the one being bullied, we must remember that those doing the bullying require our attention to. If we are to truly make an effort to stop bullying, we must go right to the source.

So, what should a teacher say to the parents of a bully? A few rules when dealing with parents of bullies:

It is important for teachers to watch and be observant. Know who the school bullies are.  You do not want to falsely accuse the wrong children. Reach out to the parents. Immediately. Don’t be accusatory, you risk alienating them. Enlist the help of other teachers. Don’t bombard or attack the parents, or the bully. Everyone should be aware of the bully, and join together to watch and help. Encourage compassion. Work together as a class, or even as a school, to find projects to encourage compassion.

Get the parents involved. Ask the parents to help their child channel their energy elsewhere. Help them find an activity or a hobby. Ask them to talk with their child, and insist they stop bullying. Use resources like the documentary ‘Bully’ and other tools out there for bullying.   Let the parent know that bullying is not tolerated, and any child that is bullying risks serious trouble.

The most important thing to do is to acknowledge what is happening. Don’t ignore it.

There needs to be support and help for those being bullied, and for those doing the bullying.  Should the bully really be crossing lines, breaking the law or getting violent, legal action may need to be taken. Don’t sit back in silence.

It is extremely important to be on guard. Bullies are famous for finding places away from the watchful eye of adults to engage in bullying.

There is an underlying reason why those that bully do so. If educators, parents and guidance counselors unite, perhaps we can limit the number of bully related tragedies we are seeing in our schools.

You may not be able to save them all, but for the ones that you do, it will make all the difference.  Visit: thebullyproject.com for more information on The Bully Project.