Q&A: How Do I Get My Teen's School to Take Bullying Seriously?
Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on working with your child's school administrators to acknowledge teen bullies and stop the teasing.
Q. My 13-year-old, Meg, has been bullied at school for two years. The administrators have done nothing except tell her to read your book Queen Bees and Wannabes. I'm sure it's great, but shouldn't they deal with the aggressors?
A. Without being ungrateful, I have to say their response is pathetic. Queen Bees can help you understand bullying and give you effective ways to respond. But that doesn't take away from their responsibility to create a safe environment.
So read the book, mark the sections that apply to your daughter, then meet with the principal. Thank her for her suggestion and point out what you've learned. Then explain how your daughter is handling conflicts more independently. Finally, say, "If it happens again, what is your process for helping her? And if Meg thinks that's not working, what are the next steps you want us to take?"
Write down exactly what the administrator says. If things don't improve, go back once to remind her what she said. If the bullying continues and your child feels physically threatened, go to the police.
Originally published in the April 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.