Unfortunately, we see sad headlines time and time again: teen abuse and suicide related to bullying and cyber bullying. We know that bullying comes in all forms, from verbal abuse to mild physical assault, muggings, brutal beatings, and outings on Facebook and other social media platforms. Bullying can cause severe injury to the victim. Laws are being established to define acceptable behavior, and lawsuits are continually filed against schools where bullying takes place. Adults supervising children at school are required to report child abuse situations and bullying can easily fall into that category. They must report if a child is in distress from bullying, but it can be difficult to recognize instances of bullying, particularly when there are threats to the victim who displays a tendency to hide any injuries and cover up through fabrication of stories or minimizing the action. And, in many cases, whose side do the authorities take? If a student is perceived as weak, it might be easier for the school principal to say that the child needs to toughen up. While it may be difficult to entrust or rely on the school to ensure your child’s safety, it’s wise to tune in to signs and symptoms that bullying may be occurring.
Stopbullying.gov offers signs to look for that might indicate your child is a victim of bullying, whether it be on the school ground, or through social media and other cyber networks where (sometimes) anonymous harassing takes place. Some of the signs to look for in you child are:
- lack of a sudden interest to attend school
- lying about a fabricated illness in order to stay out of school
- missing items like clothing, supplies, jewelry and books
- overall change in demeanor
- change in eating habits
- headaches or injuries that the child does not want to explain
Kids won’t always say what’s bothering them, and even at a very young age understand that sharing about a bullying incident could be construed as a sign of weakness. If you think you have a case for bullying in the school your child attends and your child has been injured as a result of bullying, regardless of how severe, the best place to start is to notify the school. If it continues, there maybe a case against the school. A law firm who is experience in dealing with child abuse and bullying is your best course of action.