Bullying Comes in Many Forms: What to do if your child is being bullied


If your child comes home and tells you that they’ve been bullied at school, ask your child for the most specific information possible about the incident. Children are often reluctant to “tell on” other students. They may be embarrassed to share what happened at school. Remind your child that you want to help and that it is ok to share this information with their parents. 

Important questions include: 

Is your child ok?

When and where did this occur?

Who was involved?

Is this a one-time occurrence or has this happened before?

Was the bullying verbal or physical?

Did any teacher, school staff or other students witness the incident?

Exactly what happened?

If, after talking with your child, you conclude that bullying did in fact occur, it’s time to take action.

**If your child is in immediate physical danger, please call the police.

Taking Action: Steps to Resolve Bullying at School

  1. Document what happened. Contact your child’s teacher or principal via email as soon as possible and share with them in writing a summary of the incident. If the teacher or principal requests an in-person meeting or a phone call, make sure to send a recap email for documentation purposes. 
  2. Review school policies. Read over the school’ and district’s Code of Conduct online and Zero Tolerance policies. Know what to expect from the school, and what action they should take. 
  3. Set up a meeting with your school’s “Bullying Liaison”. Does your school have a “Bullying Liaison,” Assistant Principal or Counselor responsibly for addressing incidents of bullying? If they do, set up a meeting with them. Follow up with an email documenting your conversation and action to be taken. 
  4. Escalate the matter if you’re not satisfied with the answers you’ve received. If attempts to connect with teachers or school administrators do not work, contact the superintendent and/or your school board representative. Follow up with an email documenting your conversation and action to be taken. 
  5. File an official complaint. File a formal complaint if your school district offers this option. You may find a link in your district’s “Policies and Procedures” document on the website.
  6. Explore options from your State Department of Education. Research what options are available to you in your state’s Department of Education by searching, “bullying” on their search bar. 
  7. File an Office for Civil Rights complaint. File an OCR complaint through the U.S. Department of Education. Learn how to file a civil rights complaint here.