Guest Post Tuesday
Most everyone has probably been the victim of a bully at one time or another. Wikipedia.org defines bullying as “the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally.” Being called names by one or many, being pushed around, or forced into a fight are all examples of being bullied. While a random act of meanness can be expected on occasion, repeated aggression from the same person is not acceptable behavior at any point in time.
Repeated, persistent bullying can have a devastating impact on the life of your child. Continual name calling, unwanted physical contact, harassment in and out of school, and other forms of bullying can drive your child into a depression. Children can feel intimidated, insecure, even unloved. It can not only affect their schoolwork, but also the quality of their whole life. Parents, under these horrific circumstances must step in. But what can a parent do?
• Talk To Your Child. You need to know all of the details to effectively do something about the problem. Once you are in conversation with your child, give them the understanding, love and support they need to overcome this problem. They need to know that they are not bad and not deserving of this treatment.
• Talk To The School. As national attention is being brought to the topic of bullying, sometimes the school can intercede in the problem, and the problem goes away. However, the schools intervention may actually make the situation worse as the bully may reject admonishment, and step up the harassment. You must be prepared for this. If this is the case, you need to move to the next step.
• Talk To The Parents. You can confront the parents of the bully, but this may not be very successful. Often a child that is a bully is the direct result of the parent being a bully. Children act out what they see. Even if you get positive feedback from the parent, your child may suffer the repercussions of this action, similar to talking to the school.
• Talk To The Police.
If conversations with the school, and the bully’s parents don’t lead to a resolution, approach the police about the problem and ask what can be done. You may have to fill out a police report about the incidents. In some cases the police will go to the home of the bully and speak to them and their parents. This “scared straight” tactic often works on a bully when they realize that their actions have consequences.
• Seek A Restraining Order.
Appeal to the legal system for protection of your child. You can request a restraining order from the Court which will make it illegal for the bully to come within a certain distance of your child. If they break the restraining order, you have the right to have them arrested, regardless of age.
Bullying is a form of assault. It does not matter the age of the perpetrator, if they are physically or mentally harming someone, they are assaulting them. Assault can be a criminal offence, and therefore has specific punishments attached, even for juvenile offenders. If you are located in Minnesota, a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney can give you legal advice on how to protect your child from a bully.
Bullies can find themselves serving time in the local juvenile detention center. Depending on their age and the seriousness of their actions, they may also be fined, required to complete community service, and mandated to attend counseling. Their parents may also be required to do the same.
Bullying is a serious problem, and parents must do what it takes to protect their children. It may be a simple fix, or you may have to get the Court involved. While your child may not want to confess to being bullied, if you suspect that is the case, the earlier you have a conversation, the faster you will be able to take necessary action. It’s up to you to protect the emotional and physical needs of your child, and preserve their self-worth and maybe even their life.
Teresa Stewart writes this information to bring awareness to the fact that bullying can be considered a criminal offense. Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Kevin Devore has 2 decades of experience in criminal offense. He is practiced in fighting for his clients, and has familiarity with the local courts.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zzclef/3052656083/