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By Liz Carnell
Finding out that your child has been bullied is stressful and upsetting but most cases can be sorted out quickly.
For a primary school pupil, call in to see the class teacher to ask for his/her help. Often, the playground supervisor can keep an eye on the situation and make sure that your child is not left out of games or pushed around.
For a secondary school pupil then phone or send a note to the head of year explaining who is doing what and how upset your child has become. Ask for the bullies to be warned off.
If these things don't work, then help your child to keep a diary and write a letter to the head teacher, there are examples that may help on the Bullying Online website. Outline the background and ask for a strategy to be introduced to deal with the problem. Ask how this will be monitored.
If you've already made complaints then ask what action was taken against the bullies and for a copy of the school bullying policy.
If you're still not satisfied, then make a complaint to the chairman of governors and then to the director of education services at your council.
Bullying can cause sleepless nights and stress so if your child is badly affected take him/her to your doctor and ask if the doctor will write a note to the school explaining the effect that bullying is having on his/her health.
You can also phone the council education welfare officer (sometimes called an education social worker) and ask her to intervene with the school. Her role is to ensure that pupils attend school and if your child is starting to be reluctant to go in then she may be able to help before it gets to the situation that the child is truanting.
If you're told that your child is a bully then don't over react. The school needs your support to solve the problem.
A younger child may not understand the distress that their behaviour is causing. There is a section about what sort of things are bullying behaviour on the Bullying Online website.
If you’re a pupil being bullied then if you need to ask an outside organisation like Bullying Online for help, your parents really need to know about it.
It can be hard to tell them if you’re afraid they’ll be annoyed or upset but they’d be more upset if they knew you were unhappy and hadn’t told them about it.
Your parents should first contact your class teacher if you’re at primary school or your head of year and then head teacher if you’re at secondary school.
Sometimes people are afraid the bullies will make more trouble for them but your parents could ask for supervision to be increased so that the bullies will either not be able to get away with their behaviour or they’ll be spotted in action.
Bullies pick on the things about you they know upset you most. This could be your looks, weight, a disability, because you work hard or are popular. In fact, they’ll pick on things like your family too if they think that’s the thing you don’t like.
It’s best to try not to react to their remarks because that’s what they like most. That doesn’t mean you should ignore what they say, you should report it to a teacher, your school matron or your parents.
Bullies can wind you up and make you so upset you want to hit back. Don’t do that because you’re the one likely to get into trouble. Tell your parents what’s going on. If you’re hit, kicked or threatened with violence your parents could make a complaint to the police.
Keep a diary of bullying so that if you need to, you can show your head teacher and the police what’s going on.
Be careful who you give your mobile phone number to. If an ex-friend starts giving it to other people and you get threatening or abusive calls or text messages get your parents to contact the police and change the number.
More on bullying.
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