What if My Child is Being Bullied at School in Arizona? | School Bullying
What happens or what should you do as a parent or guardian if your child is being bullied in Arizona? First, I think we should define what bullying is.
What is Bullying?
The State Board of Education has a definition of bullying, and that is when a student is exposed repeatedly over time to negative action on the part of one or more students. That action is meant to hurt the student. And, the person is seeking control, the person who is potentially doing the alleged bullying. It has to be over a period of time, this can’t just be one incident. And it also must be with the intent to hurt that student who is potentially being bullied. So, that’s a very broad definition.
The National Bullying Prevention Center defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” This definition implies that for an incident to be considered bullying, there should be an intention to harm someone. The bully must also have some form of power over the victim, which they use to repeat the aggressive behavior.
Types of Bullying
You might have a perception that only physical bullying takes place in schools. However, there are different types of bullying, and each one is just as harmful as the other. Understanding the different types of bullying will enable you to devise the most appropriate solution. The State Board of Education also addresses that there are three types of bullying.
This is the most common type of bullying. If someone were to assault another student repeatedly over time, that’s considered bullying. It can range from hitting and kicking to spitting and pushing which causes possible injury. Yes, these types of harassment commonly happen. Also, this violence can involve the destruction of property. It’s common for students who bully others into taking their victim’s belongings and damaging them. So, that’s physical.
Emotional or Social Bullying
Verbal bullying, also known as social bullying, is characterized by using hurtful words. It can involve name-calling, making fun of someone, spreading rumors, and teasing. Students who engage in this type of bullying often do so to make themselves feel better.
Also known as relational bullying, social bullying involves hurting someone’s reputation or social status. It can include leaving someone out on purpose, rumor-mongering, and gossiping. The goal of social bullying is to make the victim feel isolated and alone.
Cyberbullying has increased in recent years due to the rise of social media and other online platforms. It involves the use of technology to bully someone. It can include sending mean texts or emails, posting hurtful comments online, and spreading rumors through social media.
These things can be a little bit harder to catch. The best way is to communicate with the student and let them fully tell you the situation, so you get all the details and the facts surrounding the events. But if you feel like your child has been exposed repeatedly over time to these negative actions that are meant to hurt them, that’s important, you want to report that to the school.
What If My Child is Being Bullied at School?
As highlighted above, School bullying can negatively impact a child’s life. You should take immediate action if you believe they are being bullied. Some of the things you can do to help them include:
Encourage them to Speak-Up
If your child is being bullied, you should encourage and advise them to speak up. This will help them get the support they need to deal with the situation. You should also tell them that it’s not their fault and you are there for them.
Report The Incident to The School
Once you’re sure your child is being bullied especially if they acquire injuries, report the incident to the school. In Arizona, schools are required by law to have a policy in place to deal with bullying. The school should also notify you of the steps to address the issue.
Speak To an Arizona Bullying Attorney
You also have the option of speaking or seeking advice from an experienced Arizona bullying attorney. They will help you understand your options and take the necessary legal action. Speaking with an attorney should be your last resort, as it may escalate the situation.
Bullying Policies and Procedures in Arizona Schools
Schools here in the state of Arizona are required to have policies and procedures around bullying and the victims of the alleged bullying. So, what does this mean? Parents or students can report this to the school. It’s likely addressed in the parent handbook or student handbook. This should be confidential. This should not be known to the people who are allegedly doing the bullying. So, the victims should be held confidential. The school is required to have procedures in place. This may mean some type of disciplinary hearing or discipline for the students who are doing the alleged bullying.
Parental Rights to File Complaint if the School Fails to Address Bullying
And then also, this must be communicated with parents as well. The school is required to act. If they aren’t acting after the parent has reached out, there are legal rights and remedies. You can even file a complaint with the State Board of Education that the school is not complying with the policies that are put in place for bullying. This is a sensitive subject. It’s very emotional when you feel like your children aren’t in a safe place. So, it’s something you do not want to take lightly. The State Board of Education also has lots of resources, as well as the Arizona Department of Public Health. Arizona takes this very seriously. I think we’ve all seen the effects of what it’s like when a victim is bullied over a period.
Seek Legal Advice About School Bullying
And there are a lot of repercussions, so you want to take it seriously. I would recommend reaching out to the school as soon as possible, being as detailed as possible about the events and keeping a copy for your own records. If you feel like the school is not assisting your child and they’re not complying with the policies that they have put in place, I always recommend seeking legal advice from an attorney, such as myself, for a consultation if not being represented. And again, if you feel like the school is still not complying, there are legal remedies. You can file a complaint with the State Board of Education.
How to Report Bullying at an Arizona School?
Check Out the School’s Anti-bullying policies
There are requirements within state law that require schools to have policies, procedures, reporting requirements, and procedures in place for reporting bullying and activity. They also include harassment and intimidation. Those are all grouped in, and then also bullying. The first place I would look if you were to report an activity, either as a parent of a student or the student wanting to report it, is at your school’s policy. They should have an anti-bullying policy.
Report School Bullying Incident by Writing or Emailing Your Information
Within that policy, there should be ways that you are able to report. It’s normally a specific person or admin that you need to report these events. There also should be a definition of bullying that the school provides. You can read that and make sure that your incident falls within their definition. And then you would report it. And how you’re going to report it, I would always suggest in writing, so even an email is fine.
Clear, Detailed Information is Required
But just in writing, you want to be as detailed as possible. Who were the people that were involved? Who was doing the alleged bullying? Who was the victim? The time that this happened, the date, and the environment. All of these things are really important. It’s best to paint a very clear picture for the individuals involved so they know how to proceed.
Was there any sort of physical harm? That’s important because the school then needs to know if they need to notify other legal entities, maybe the police department if it’s serious enough. So, yes, so look at your school’s policy. It’s normally on their website or in the student handbook or parent handbook. Within there, it will tell you who to contact. I always recommend doing it in writing, not over the phone. I think it’s just better to have a paper trail just in case of any future instances.
Reporting of School Bullying is Confidential
And I also recommend whenever you’re reporting this, give as many details as possible. It is required that reporting is confidential, so this information should be kept confidential due to state regulations within the anti-bullying and reporting policies. And then, like I said, in writing. And then I would keep a copy for yourself, just in case of any future incidents. The school should take over and notify you within a reasonable time and they’ll walk you through the procedure.
In Arizona, if you believe that your child is being bullied at school, especially if it caused any type of injury, you should report the incident to the school immediately. You can speak to a teacher, administrator, or counselor. You can also submit a written complaint to the school.
The school will then investigate the incident and take the necessary disciplinary action. The corrective action will depend on the severity of the bullying and the school’s policy. It can range from a warning to expulsion from the school. In some instances, the police may also get involved.
Contact Arizona Student Bullying Attorney Today for Assistance
As you can see, student bullying is a serious problem in Arizona schools. If your child has been the victim of bullying, you should contact an experienced student bullying attorney today. The attorney will review your case and advise you of your legal options. A lawyer can also help you file a complaint with the school and the Arizona Department of Education.
At Chelle Law, we have successfully represented many students who have been the victims of bullying. We will aggressively fight for your child’s rights and ensure they receive the justice they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Arizona Student Questions?
IEPs, School Discipline, Hearings and more!