All too often, schools ignore reports of bullying and leave targets to fend for themselves. It was the same when I was being bullied in school. Any reports of the harassment either went completely ignored, were swept under the rug, or I was blamed for it. Here are the reasons:
They’re lazy. Conducting an investigation into the case of bullying is extra work. Most school officials do not want to make any extra effort in resolving a case of bullying. Often, they take the easy way out by either denying that there’s a problem or blaming the target. And when parents of targets get involved, the school staff may often label the parents as “the crazy mom/dad,” which is only a cop-out.
They’re afraid the bullies’ parents will retaliate. Bullying is a learned behavior, and many bullies have parents who are also bullies themselves. Many of these parents are self-entitled. They may also have powerful political connections in the town or on the school board. And the school staff know too well that disciplining “the wrong kids” could mean an end to either their jobs or their entire careers.
They’re afraid that the school’s reputation may be tarnished. Schools often hide cases of bullying to save face. They know good and well when a child is bullied; however, they may consider that child a threat and, in worse cases, ostracize the poor kid and tell him/her to “keep your mouth shut” to cover their own behinds.
They either don’t like or may even hate the bullied target. Believe me. I was hated by many of my teachers and other school staff, and they were supposed to be adults who were supposed to protect me. The thing is that when a person is bullied for a long period of time, so many rumors and lies have been spread about the person that their once good name has been destroyed, and yes! Teachers hear and believe the rumors too!
They even join in on negative gossip about the target. Understand that although, in reality, the targeted person may be one of the sweetest, most awesome people you may ever meet, the rumors and lies supersede the truth and keep the target locked in a prison of scrutiny and suspicion. Because of this, the target cannot be their true, awesome self because of the stress of being marginalized. In the minds of those at school, the target is “trouble.”
Also, because of having been bullied for so long, the target may react out of self-defense and exhaustion. This poor, tired kid has been harassed for so long that he really cannot help but react, and the bullies slyly use the reaction as further proof that the target is either trouble or crazy. Because of this, teachers and staff may think the worst of the poor, innocent kid.
They may also think that just because everyone seems to hate the target, there must be a reason that justifies it. In their minds, the target deserves what is happening to them. And when a teacher does not like a student, they may either refuse to help them or secretly take pleasure in seeing the poor kid suffer. Teachers and school staff are just as capable as the classroom bullies of hating and hurting students they deem undesirable.
This is why parents must stay proactive in protecting and advocating for their child even when it seems that the school isn’t listening. Let them know that you will not go away until the problem is solved. Go to the media if you have to.
Assure your child that his/her reputation does not equal character and that the bullies have the issues. Know there will come a time when your child will escape their tormentors and have true friends who love them for them. Constantly tell them that they are worthy of having friends and being loved. You might just keep your child’s self-esteem from completely tanking and even save his/her life!