I'm posting a letter here that I wrote to the editor of our local paper today. I am not naming the particular school here, because it's not relevant, so the words in parentheses are edits.
"On Tuesday during lunch-hour, my niece was walking on (her) school grounds when a girl approached her and punched her in the face. A second girl stood by and watched. My niece went directly to the office and reported the assault, but unfortunately did not know the girls' names.
She was told to look through a year book, but my niece could not identify the older girls by yearbook headshots. She described their appearances in detail, including the exact clothes that they were wearing, but no action was taken to go into classrooms and seek out these girls.
What is really disappointing is that the school did not call a parent to inform them of the assault. After waiting 24 hours for a phone call from the school, her father contacted the principal.
Our schools are supposed to have a “no bullying” policy. This, unfortunately is not the case. My niece has been verbally bullied for months, leading up to shoving incidents and finally an assault, with no apparent action being taken by the school.
I understand that school is not a babysitting service. Children are there to gain an education and social skills and teachers are there to facilitate that. We try to teach our kids to “tough it out” and not to let others get them down, but what happens when our kids are no longer safe at school?
There is a startling epidemic of teen suicide and teens undergoing psychiatric care as a result of bullying across North America. Should we wait until we are at a funeral service before we talk to our kids about the devastation of bullying?
Please, if you have a child in (any school,) talk to your children about the destruction that bullying causes to a child’s emotional, mental and physical well-being. A child should not be full of fear and despair every time they walk through the doors of their school."
If you haven't talked to your child about bullying - now is the time. If your child is experiencing bullying, make sure you contact their school about ANY inappropriate behaviour aimed at them. Google "anti-bullying" programs in your area - there are so many out there now. No child should have to face this.