Letter to a School About Bullying
Bullying can occur in a variety of forms. According to the charity Child Line, bullying can include things like name calling, being teased, being pushed or pulled about, having money and other possessions taken or messed about with, having rumours spread about you, being ignored and left out, being hit, kicked or physically injured in any way, being threatened or intimidated, or as a part of other forms of abuse, including neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. It can also include things like sending insulting messages on the Internet (cyberbullying). These kinds of activities, especially if they occur in schools or around the school day, can scare children so that they say they do not want to go to school, and might do things like pretending to be ill to avoid school.
This is why it's important to find out about your child's school's policy on bullying - even if your child is not being bullied, it is useful to know what the school does to avoid a culture of bullying, and how it will take action if incidents of bullying are discovered or reported. Every school should have in place an anti-bullying policy, which is supposed to make sure that a child's learning environment at school is a safe and supportive atmosphere where they do not experience a fear of being bullied. A school's staff, including teachers and teaching assistants but also staff like lunch servers and playground staff, should be trained in the signs of bullying and how to respond correctly and in line with the school's policy against bullying.
The Legal Duty of SchoolsUnder the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, head teachers of schools are required by law to have a set of procedures in place to prevent bullying from occurring amongst children at school, and also to ensure that staff, parents, pupils and other people on school property are aware of these guidelines. They might include the steps that should be taken to deal with bullying, such as how the incident should be recorded and responded to, how form tutors monitor the situation and how parents are informed, and any punishments that should take place.
The following letter looks at the best way to approach a school to find out about their anti-bullying policy.
The School House
1 May 2008
We are the parents of Frank Jones, currently in form 4f, and at home we have been talking to Frank about bullying after one of his friends (at another school) experienced bad bullying and told Frank about it. Thankfully, Frank has not experienced bullying but since the issue has been brought up before us, we'd like to know more about this school's anti-bullying policy. I gather that it is a standard (and indeed legal) policy for schools to have a set of guidelines about bullying, and was hoping you would be able to send us through a copy so we could learn more about this.
You can contact us on the address above, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
With thanks for your time and best wishes
Mr and Mrs Jones, mother and father of Frank Jones (form 4f)