All too often, schools ignore reports of bullying, leaving the victim with no one to turn to for help. When I was in school and a victim of vicious harassment, my reports were dismissed by the staff at school and I felt helpless…I felt like a sitting duck!
From my own experience, I can tell you several reasons why some schools ignore cases of bullying:
They’re lazy. Conducting an investigation into a case of bullying is extra work. Some school officials do not want to make any extra effort to resolve a case of bullying. Instead, these officials take the easy way out, either denying that there’s a problem (“I’m sure that’s not what she meant.”) or blaming the victim (“Maybe it was something you did that started it.”). And when the victim’s parents get involved, the school staff sometimes just labels them as “the helicopter parents” or “the demanding dad” or “the crazy mom”—creating excuses for not dealing with the inappropriate behavior in the school.
They’re afraid that the school’s reputation may be tarnished. Some schools hide cases of bullying in order to save face. They recognize when a child is bullied, but decide that addressing and documenting the issue could negatively affect the perception of the school and its administrators and staff. In these cases, the school ends up essentially considering the bullied child a threat. And in the worst of these cases, the school’s own staff ostracize the poor victim, insisting to the bullied child that nothing’s going on and it shouldn’t be brought up anymore.
They don’t like the bullied child. That may not sound possible, but believe me, it can happen. In school, I was disliked by a lot of my teachers and other school staff—the ones who were supposed to be the adults, who were supposed to protect me there. But when someone is bullied for a long period of time and so many rumors and lies have been spread, yes, some of the teachers come to believe the rumors too, even joining in on the gossip. The victim can be one of the most likable people around, but the rumors and lies paint him or her as “trouble” in the minds of those at school. Isolated and exhausted, the bullied child may eventually lash out, which only reinforces the school’s negative perceptions of the victim (as I discuss in The Three B’s of Bullying)—even among the school staff. And, sadly, teachers and school staff are sometimes just as capable as the classroom bullies of hurting a student they deem undesirable.
When faced with an unresponsive school, parents must stay proactive in protecting and advocating for their child. So, go ahead and bug the crap out of them! Let them know that you will not go away until the bullying is resolved properly, and make sure they understand that you will go over their heads if need be.
Also, parents, assure your child that reputation does not equal character and that the bullies are the ones who have the issues. Make sure your child knows that there will come a time when he or she will escape their bullies and have true friends who will know and love him or her. Remind your child that he or she is worthy of having friends and being loved. Your child needs your openness and support in this time to maintain self-esteem and even save his or her life!
Cherie White, both a writer and author, joined the team after being discovered by Brian through her own personal blog and through social media. She has been writing ever since she was ten years old and has a love for writing articles, short stories and novels. She became intrigued with the new Pyngby app because it helps victims pinpoint victims and their harassers for easy protection and litigation if need be. Because she experienced severe bullying from sixth grade until changing schools during her last year of high school, she has a passion for spreading bullying awareness and helping those who are bullied and abused today. Her goal is to bring down the suicide rate among bullied children, teens and young adults. Her debut novel, “From Victim to Victor” is available now at LuLu. Cherie looks forward to helping victims through Watchdog Creative.
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