Bullying remains a huge problem in most New York schools. Although bullying in schools is not a new problem, it is taken more seriously than in the past and it can take an incredible toll on your special needs child.
As the parent of a special needs child, your child has the right to a safe and welcoming educational environment. Bullying in any form should not be tolerated.
Therefore, if your child comes to you and says that they are being bullied, you are naturally going to want to do something about it, but you may wonder what the most appropriate course of action is.
Talk to the school principal or staff
You can try talking to the school principal or school staff. Pick whatever communication method you feel comfortable with.
Setting up a meeting to speak with them in person if you feel better addressing the issue that way. If you would prefer to express your concerns in writing, send an email.
Provide as much detail as possible. Give names, dates and explain exactly what happened. Emphasize the impact on your child.
Keep detailed records of everything you do
Keep records of every conversation you have. Save all emails, preferably in multiple locations and record the dates and times of every conversation. Do the same for any messages you leave for people.
We have all seen too many situations where school staff or administration is made aware of bullying and does nothing about it. Even worse, sometimes the student being bullied gets punished, while the perpetrators face no penalties.
Additional options for reporting bullying
These scenarios can make you hesitant to confront the school. You can submit a complaint through the New York City Department of Education website or contact the Office of Safety and Youth Development.
Your special needs child deserves to have a rewarding and enriching educational experience, free from bullying or harassment. If you face challenges trying to address a bullying problem, you should consider securing legal counsel.