DES MOINES, Iowa--()--School is now underway and new routines have taken hold. If your once eager child now seems reluctant to go to school, a school bully may be why.
“Bullying is a difficult problem for parents because it is tough to know the severity of the problem or how to start talking about it”
“Bullying is a difficult problem for parents because it is tough to know the severity of the problem or how to start talking about it,” says Ann Cosimano, General Counsel of ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions. “Parents can play a significant role in preventing bullying, and may want to take advantage of opportunities to talk about what bullying is, what their child experiences and what behaviors are acceptable.”
When discussing what bullying is with your student, know that bullying goes beyond “teasing.” According to the government sponsored website, Stopbullying.gov, bullying is unwanted, repeated, aggressive behavior that includes a real or perceived imbalance of power. Further, bullying may be considered harassment if it’s based on gender, sexual orientation, race, color, national origin, disability or religion. Harassment can be illegal when it is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or hostile school environment and interferes with education.
Know Your Rights
Most states are looking at their laws and model policies in order to prevent bullying and protect children. To find out about your state’s specific regulations, check out Stopbullying.gov. If you feel your child is being bullied, consider taking these steps:
- Contact your student’s teacher, counselor and the principal.
- Get a copy of your school’s anti-bullying policy and follow the process for raising a complaint.
- Keep notes about what happened, when, who was involved and when you reported it. Schools that receive federal funding are required to look into any complaint of harassment and protect the student from further harassment.
- If harassment persists, consider filing a formal grievance with the district. You may also want to contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
Bullying is one of several unexpected legal issues that can happen with your children as they grow up. To further safeguard against legal issues, check with your employer about enrolling in legal insurance coverage where you work. Comprehensive legal plans, such as those offered by ARAG, provide plan members with a wide range of services ranging from attorney consultation on drafting letters to the school, or preparing for presentation in an administrative hearing.
ARAG (www.ARAGgroup.com), whose North American operations are based in Des Moines, IA, is a global provider of legal solutions. The company has an international premium base of almost $2 billion and it protects 15.5 million individuals and their families – worldwide. ARAG offers comprehensive legal plans that provide a smart and trusted path for resolving legal issues. This enables people to protect their families, finances and futures.