Melissa writes:

My son was recently suspended at school for fighting. He swears that he had been bullied and that he was defending himself from it happening again. That being said, he never told a teacher until he got in trouble, (he said he thought that might make it worse) and nobody has come forward to say that they saw anything to support his stance. We would like to believe him, however this is a big deal, and we are not sure who or what to believe or do.

Dr Todd writes:

Hi Melissa.  I'm sorry to hear that your son has gotten caught up in this difficult situation.  At this point, I think the thing to focus on is how to help your son deal with teasing or bullying in the future, as fighting will obviously not be a good short- or long-term solution for him.  If you feel he is giving you an accurate account of what happened, then this information should be shared with the school counselor, which you have probably already done.  Often, the school counselor or principal will then talk with both of the kids involved to help them find a resolution and to make clear the school's no-tolerance policy on bullying and fighting.

At home, I encourage you to help your son think of better solutions for the problem of teasing or bullying, should they ever happen again.  The solutions of: 1) not telling anyone, and 2) fighting, are not going to bring a good result.  If we put potential problems into "small, medium, and large" categories, I would categorize bullying as a "large" problem.  While you want your son to be comfortable talking with you about anything, we definitely want him to come to you when there is a big problem, like teasing or bullying.  It might be worthwhile to explore why he didn't come to you with this previous situation.  You want him to remember that if he is being bullied, he has his parents and the entire school administration on his side.

So, step number one for him is to always talk to his parents about it.  Then, depending on the severity of the teasing/bullying situation, you can help him think of a good plan, which could include any of the following:


-Walking away

-Staying away from the negative peers

-Staying close to groups of positive friends

-Coming up with neutral comebacks, like, "Whatever,"  or "That's your opinion," (these are good to practice together)

-Telling a teacher or school counselor

If you think the teasing is severe enough or it has become physical, you can contact the school counselor yourself to inform them of the situation and ask that they intervene.  Your main goal here is to help your son learn from his recent experience so that he will be much better prepared to effectively handle this type of situation in the future.

Dr. Todd


1. Rene wrote:
Bullying Requires Non-Education Professionals Bullying requires non-education prnfsesiooals to step in.Unfortunately, education prnfsesiooals, as experienced as theyare and have to be with education-related matters, do not havethe know-how or experience needed to deal with radicallyuncontrolled bullying. However, there are police (men and women), psychologists (men and women), and therapists (men and women) who are not in the business of education; but who are trained to deal with the deviant behavior expressed by a true bully. A 1-800 number for bully victims that is easy to remember should be plastered everywhere in schools from the classrooms to the halls to the restrooms to the playgrounds to the busses and athletic fields as gentle reminders to students thinking of getting out of line (bullying). This no-nonsense number would direct the bully victim to immediate help by trained prnfsesiooals who will evaluate professionally the bully's mental health and stable or unstable home situation; deal with the bully's deviant behavior; and help the bully victim through the merciless trauma/abuse he/she experienced all without repercussions to the actual victim. Of course, legal action and prosecution against the bully (not the school) go without saying. As an added incentive, the school administration may dial the number from the school office. Often, but not always, the bully is a repeat offender. Reporting the crime helps authorities build a case against said bully in court holding the bully accountable for his/her actions.

Sun, November 25, 2012 @ 2:57 AM

2. Auth wrote:
Bullying in schools will never stop until the hiacerhy system, grades and the corporate modeled social system in schools change. Grading kids, from A-F, causes bullying. It oppresses kids. The principal is the CEO of the school, the teachers are the bosses, and you have to address them as Mr, and Mrs. while the kids privacy is lost, and teachers do not have the respect for children back. Teachers call kids by their first names. Anytime you have an oppressed group, children in school, they will be worse to each other than the people oppressing them. The slaves did the same thing, they were worse with each other than they were with their masters, their oppressors. When you don't have the power to rise up against your oppressors, you take it out on your peers. We call it bullying.I think psychologists have failed children by not pointing this out and saying school is unhealthy for children.

Tue, November 27, 2012 @ 3:06 AM