How can you stop school bullies by forcing reluctant, do-nothing principals to protect your children? That’s a skill many parents must learn. First, bullies are always 100% at fault and that never decreases. Kids who act as spectators or cheerleaders, and kids who pile on also are at fault on their own. There’s more than 100% to go around.
The worst are the adults who are responsible for stopping bullying; for creating bully-free schools, but who don’t. Let’s focus on reluctant, do-nothing principals who tolerate bullying at their schools.
Some principals won’t tolerate bullying, but many principals won’t act strongly and effectively.
Five signs of these do-nothing principals are:
- They don’t have a school-wide program, including kids and parents, to stop bullies. There’s no training for teachers, administrators, janitors or bus drivers to recognize the early warning signs of overt and covert bullies; of verbal, emotional, physical and cyberbullying.
- Even though every kid in the school knows who the bullies are and where and when it happens, do-nothing principals make no effort to monitor areas of the school where most bullying occurs. They plead ignorance and expect you, the parents who are off-site, to provide the proof for them.
- They think the best way to stop bullying is through forgiveness, sympathy, compassion, understanding, education and compromise with bullies. They focus on the reasons bullies bully instead of simply stopping them. They think that doing some process counts. But only the results count – stopping bullies.
- Do-nothing principals blame the target – your child. They assume your kids must have done something wrong to antagonize the bully. They don’t keep your kid’s complaint confidential. Reluctant principals have great sympathy for how hard the bully’s life is and little sympathy for your child, who is the target of harassment and abuse. Some can’t figure out how to stop a relentless bully so they’d rather look the other way.
- To keep you in the dark, they plead confidentiality. Or they ask you to trust them while they handle the situation, but you see that the bullying doesn’t stop.
In these schools, bullying is never one incident; it’s a pattern. Relentless bullies know who has the power and what they can get away with.
Learn how to force reluctant principals to act. These do-nothing principals are afraid of two things:
- Legal action.
Do-nothing principals don’t want to be involved with something that can get messy for them. Often, they’re afraid of the bullying parents of the bullying kids. You must change that. Since do-nothing principals won’t do what’s right on their own, you must make them more afraid of you.
- Before there are any incidents, even before school starts, organize a few like-minded parents and start lobbying for a school-wide program including kids and parents. Get media coverage. Make sure there are legal rules and a legal process.
- If bullying begins, talk to the principal and staff. Listen carefully for excuses, rationalizations, confessions of ignorance, discussions of what constitutes legal evidence – these are bad signs. Record the conversation. Send to everyone a follow up email listing all the points and promises made.
- Give the principal (and counselors and teachers) one chance to stop the bullying – maybe a week or two. Are bullies removed? Does cyberbullying stop? Or is your child picked on even more?
- If bullying continues, see an expert lawyer, get an expert coach and start making waves. Contact parents of other kids who are bullied. Get evidence. Contact District Administrators. Contact police. Get publicity from local radio and TV stations. File a law suit. Be prepared for a long, ugly fight. Document, Document!