Beat the BULLIES; OUR PULL-OUT-AND-KEEP GUIDE TO SPEAKING OUT.
ONE of parents' biggest fears as their children head off to school in the morning is that their youngster will be the target of bullies.
Schools are working incredibly hard to prevent and stamp out fear in the playground but bullying still happens to thousands of children every day.
In the past year nearly 2,000 of the youngsters aged between 11 and 16 calling ChildLine West Midlands wanted to talk about being bullied. This is one in five of the children calling the telephone helpline.
And what of the many more who have not picked up the phone and may be suffering daily abuse from their fellow pupils? The best way to stop bullying is to admit it exists, talk about it and encourage children to tell. This is why, for the fifth year running the Birmingham Mail and ChildLine have joined forces on our award winning Speak Out Stop Bullying campaign.
WHAT IS BULLYING? being called names * being teased * being pushed or pulled *about being hit or attacked * having possessions taken *and thrown around having rumours spread * being ignored and left out * being forced to hand over *money or possessions being attacked because of *religion or colour cyberbullying * IS YOUR FRIEND BEING BULLIED? Don't rush over and take *them on - it might not be safe and you don't want other people to think you are a bully.
Let a teacher or other adult *know what is happening.
Try to be a friend to the *person being bullied.
Refuse to join in. * Try to be friendly to the *bully, but even if you can't be friends, being kind can sometimes help the bully stop bullying.
Sometimes you can't sort it *out yourself. Ask an adult for help.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED Don't ignore bullying - *it won't go away on its own and it may get worse.
Speak Out - tell *someone you trust such as a teacher, parent or friend.
Remember - it's not *your fault. No one deserves to be bullied.
Keep a diary - and save *any nasty texts or emails that you have been sent.
Be safe - try to stay *away from the bullies or stay with a group when you don't feel safe.
Call a friend - ask your *mates to look out for you.
Try not to retaliate *- you could get into trouble or get hurt.
Check your school's *anti-bullying policy - this will tell you what your school should do about bullying.
Try to act more *confident - even if you don't feel it.
Call ChildLine for extra *help on 0800 1111.
WHAT IS CYBERBULLYING? Sending unpleasant or *threatening text messages.
Sending pictures or video-*clips via mobile phones to the person being bullied or other friends.
So-called 'happy slapping' *in which someone is filmed being physically attacked.
Silent or abusive phone *calls.
Stealing someone's phone *and using it to harass others so they think the phone owner is responsible.
Nasty and threatening *emails.
Creating an anonymous *email address, using it to send unpleasant messages and blaming this on someone else.
Sending *threatening or unpleasant responses to children when they are in a chat room.
Sending *unpleasant instant messaging.
Saying nasty things *about someone on a blog, personal website or chatroom.
STOP YOUR CHILD BEING CYBERBULLIED Don't wait for it to happen, *make sure they understand that such bullying does not need to be endured.
Encourage your children to *Speak Out Stop Bullying.
Report any problems to your *child's school as well the relevant mobile network and internet service provider.
Become webwise - parental *control software can limit who your child sends emails to and receives them from. It can also block access to some chat rooms.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU DO NOT FEEL OUR COMPLAINT IS BEING HEARD 1NpPu * Ha *askin no re corre writt appr Ke *sent Co *comp body comm pers will proo 3P th happ Ma *a cop WYO No response to letters or hone calls: ut everything in writing and deliver a letter ng why there has been esponse to previous espondence. Request a ten reply by an ropriate date. eep copies of all letters . onsider a formal plaint to the governing y if lack of munication is a istent problem, but you need clear records as of.
2B fu need Re *are d diffe thriv acad feel with the s your eing told their child is: ussing, over-sensitive, ds to 'laugh it off': espond that all children different and have erent needs. In order to ve and be successful demically they need to safe and protected hin school. This is part of school's duty of care to r child.
romising verbally to do hings which don't pen: ake sure you have seen py of the school's anti-bullying policy. This is a document every school is required to have by law.
Insist that your concerns *are dealt with as outlined in the policy.
Requests and responses *should be in writing.
4 The school has a 'No Blame' approach: Consider moving your *child to another school. The 'No Blame' policy is not appropriate to deal with serious issues, because it will not prioritise keeping children safe by making bullies accountable for their actions.
5 Asking repeatedly for school's anti-bullying policy: If the school says their *policy is "in draft" or "under review" then ask for the copy the school is currently working to.
6 Being told that the bullying 'has been dealt with internally' and given no details: Education is a partnership *between home and school. You have a right to be told how the safety of your child will be assured although not to be given personal information about the support planned or punishment of the child responsible.
7 No consequences for the bullies - 'they've been spoken to': Ask for details of *measures the school plans to put in place to ensure your child's future safety.
Ask to see what records *have been kept by the school of the incident for future reference.
8 Their children having to move classes or offered lunch in the library, a counsellor etc, while bully goes free: Does the school operate a *'No Blame' policy? If it does then see the advice above. If not, consider the advice anyway.
Take your child to a GP to *log incidents and ask for a letter of support to go to school.
Ask (in writing) why the *bullied child is being further ostracised by the actions of the school when the cause of the problem is not dealt with.
9 Family rows/upsets/ divorce because of bullying: Try and come to some *agreement about an agreed timescale for action and the support your child needs.
Your child is probably *feeling bad enough without taking on responsibility for parental rows too. Separate your child's need for support from your personal philosophy of education.
10Being told 'we don't have bullying in this school': Be very suspicious of any *school that claims to have "no bullying", as they either: Don't want to *acknowledge it exists so they don't have to deal with it.
Are only interested in *academic attainment, not "whole child" development.
Don't want to deal with *an aggressive or influential parent.
Are out of touch with *what is happening in their school.
MoreInfo Need to know more? There is plenty of advice and help available: Childline - www.childline. *org.uk has information for children including games plus children's helpline 0800 1111 Kidscape - www.kidscape. *org.uk has advice for parents plus parents' anti-bullying helpline 08451 205 204 Bullybusters - new website *www.bullybusters.org.uk has information tailored for children, teenagers and adults and a confidential helpline 0800 169 6928 Beatbullying - www.*beatbullying.org has information for families and professionals working with children BullyingUK - www.bullying. *co.uk has advice for schools, youngsters and parents NSPCC - covers variety of *child protection issues at www.nspcc.org.uk Anti-Bullying Alliance -*www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk brings together 50 organsiations and has information for all ages National Anti-Bullying Week *- www.antibullyingweek.co.uk has information and resources for this year's week, Nov 16-20, which focuses on cyber bullying WHY DO CHILDREN BULLY? They have their *own problems. They may feel upset or angry or feel they don't fit in or perhaps they have problems at home Maybe they get *bullied themselves, perhaps by someone in their own family or other adults They are scared of *getting picked on so they do it first They want to *show off and seem tough Many don't like *themselves and so take it out on someone else DON'T GIVE THEM AN EXCUSE "Bullying is just *part of growing up..." - It is not. You do not have to put up with it. Adults do not put up with being hit and shouted out when they go to work. Children should not have to, either.
"If you hit back, *you won't get bullied again..." - Do not believe it. It may work sometimes, but it is just as likely to make things worse.
"Only victims get *bullied..." - It is not true that some people are more likely to be bullied than others. Although some people are bullied because they may be different in some way (they have a disability, are from another country, speak with a different accent etc), many other children are bullied without any obvious reason. Do not forget that bullies have sometimes been bullied themselves.
"My school says *there is no bullying here..." - Your school may be very lucky to have no bullying problem at the moment but most schools recognise that bullying does go on and many are doing something about it.
IS YOUR CHILD BEING BULLIED? Your child may not feel ready to tell you they are being bullied but according to anti-bullying organisation Kidscape there are possible signs: fear of walking to and *from school changing their usual *route asking to be driven to *school being reluctant to go to *school feeling ill in the morning * truanting * beginning to do poorly in *school work regularly coming home *with clothes or books destroyed or missing possessions coming home hungry * becoming withdrawn, *lacking confidence, becoming distressed and anxious crying * having nightmares * refusing to talk about *what is wrong or offering improbable excuses beginning to bully other *children or becoming aggressive and unreasonable WHAT A PARENT CAN DO If you suspect your child *is being bullied speak to them, make a note of all they say, including who are the bullies, where and when the bullying is taking place and what form the bullying takes.
Be calm. Tell your child *they were right to inform you and that they must report any further incidents to you and to their teacher.
Take it up with the *school. Make an appointment to see your child's class teacher or form tutor and then explain what is happening.
Ask for action. Make sure *the teacher gives you details of how they will deal with the situation.
Keep in touch. Let them *know what results their actions have led to, whether your child is now no longer being bullied or whether the bullying is continuing.
If you are not happy with *the school's response ask to see its anti-bullying procedures.
Make an appointment to *meet with the head teacher, explain your difficulties and make a record of the meeting.
If the problem still *continues, parents have the option of writing to the chair of governors or the matter can be taken up with the director of education for your local education authority.
CELEBS WHO WERE BULLIED Do you think you are the only one? Many of today's top celebrities have admitted to being bullied as children: Rapper Ms Dynamite (far *left) Film star Tom Cruise * Singer Gareth Gates (left) * Actress Patsy Palmer *(below) Comedian Jo Brand * Footballer David Beckham * DJ Sarah Cox * Garbage lead singer *Shirley Manson Singer Craig David *
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|Publication:||Birmingham Mail (England)|
|Date:||Sep 29, 2009|
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