Let the School Arrange a Meeting

ONCE BULLYING HAS BEEN DISCOVERED, the school should contact the parents of both the victim(s) and the bullies to inform them and to try to establish constructive cooperation. Since a victim's parents usually should not contact the bully's parents directly, the school could arrange a meeting at which the students, as well as their parents, are present. The aim of such a meeting is to bring about a thorough discussion of the situation and to arrive at a concrete plan of action. If the bully has damaged the victim's clothes or other possessions, it would be reasonable to bring up the question of compensation. Another aim must be to try to establish a collaboration with the parents of the bully/ies and to get them to exert their influence over their children in a purposeful way.

Many parents of students who bully others have little idea of what their child has been doing at school. When the situation is clarified for them, a number of parents want to contribute to bringing about positive changes. On the other hand, some bullies' parents try to play down the problems and generally take a defensive stand. They may not even come to meetings designed to address the problem. Even if it is not possible to establish any reasonably positive communication with some parents, a serious attempt to do so must still be made. In any case, the bully's parents must be kept informed about the situation.

The initial meeting should not be a onetime event. It should be followed up with more meetings so that the development of the situation can be further evaluated and information can be exchanged between parents and teachers. It is, of course, also important to check that any decisions that have been made are being put into action. Under favorable circumstances, relatively positive relations can develop between the parents of bullies and the parents of the victim. This can be an important step in putting an end to the bullying.

MANY PARENTS OF STUDENTS WHO BULLY OTHERS HAVE LITTLE IDEA OF WHAT THEIR CHILD HAS BEEN DOING AT SCHOOL.

Sometimes, however, it is clear in advance that the relationship between the bullies' and the victim's families is tense and hostile. In such situations, it is sensible to hold meetings with one family at a time before possibly arranging a joint meeting, and it may be necessary to involve the school social worker, counselor, or psychologist.

Parents:

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