Bullying: Prevention and Taking Action
There is a worrying trend of students with disabilities being attacked in school by classmates. Bullying, by itself, is a vice that needs to be stopped. It gets worse when the person being attacked is in such a position. Statistics go further to show that those with disabilities are twice as likely to be bullied. It is, therefore, important to learn more about this trend and to do something as a parent to safeguard your children.
Bullying is that constant treatment with acts of aggression against a person not able to defend themselves against such attacks at that moment. Bullies aim to harm their victims physically, mentally, and socially. Bullying is not always overt and physical, as there are subtle forms of bullying that are hard to point out. We now have a new problem in the form of cyberbullying, due to the adoption of smartphones and other communication devices in all areas of our lives. A special needs child will, therefore, suffer more significant damage from bullying.
While students with disabilities are more likely to be bullied, those with autism and orthopaedic conditions are more susceptible to that bullying. There will also be repeated cases of bullying in the future. Bullying has some lasting effects on the victims. There will be anxiety, depression and physical health issues. If you pay close attention, you will find your child has injuries that are not easy to explain, constant loss of their items like books, electronics, jewellery, changes in their eating habits like binge eating or skipping meals, trouble sleeping and nightmares, sunning school with various excuses, and self-destructive behaviour like self-inflicted harm and harbouring suicidal thoughts.
Each student has rights, whether with disabilities or otherwise. Those rights have to be respected, no matter your station in the education system. A good place to start in upholding those rights is to teach students, especially those with disabilities, how to express themselves better. Most schools focus on academic learning and less on social and emotional learning. The expectation that students will learn how to express themselves in social situations naturally does not work. Bullies thus find a perfect environment to carry out their plans.
There is also a need to sensitize the students on the harm caused by bullying. When everyone regards bullying as unacceptable behavior, and to have a proper system in place for reporting incidents of bullying, there will be a safer environment for all students.
There is also a need to act appropriately when you notice your child has been bullied. You need first to be supportive and let them know it is not their fault. You also need keenly to observe them for all the signs of bullying. Make a point of contacting their teacher immediately you spot those signs. If it is a severe case, you need to contact the principal directly.
It is a good idea to involve a student rights lawyer in such a case. When you feel all your attempts to get to the bottom of this case at school, or it keeps on persisting, you need to get the right legal help. The lawyer has experience in such matters and therefore knows how to approach it to get the right results. You can visit this site for more info.
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