Are Our Children Being Bullied? That is a question on the minds of parents everywhere, everyday. We send our children to school -- whether it is Preschool, Elementary School, Middle School or High School -- and hope that the time they spend there is filled with rich learning experiences, the warmth of friendships and a safe secure environment in which they can be celebrated for who they are - but is that truly the way it is?
Teachers provide ongoing lessons and experiences to ensure that the students treat each other as they would want to be treated themselves. Peer leaders are coached to be aware of the students who may need a friend. Be kind, be nice, and make good choices is the way it is…. or at least, should be. But everyday children are in situations where they are unable to make their fear or anxiety known to an adult. For example, as they walk the halls at school to access their locker, prepare to enter the gym, eat lunch in the cafeteria, play on the playground there is of course supervision, but eyes are not everywhere and much can be easily missed or overlooked.
What can we do? The Mid Island Y JCC’s Adler Center for Special Needs provides children with the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities with peers under the gentle supervision of highly trained staff who teach them to advocate for what they need and want, to nurture relationships, and build both character and friendships, as well. Our children are highly supported and learning techniques and skills to enable them to advocate for themselves by communicating feelings to staff at whatever level they are able.
At school, it is important to request that the students sharing your child’s learning environment are educated and understand that even though a student in the school appears to learn or behave differently he or she is in the school for the same reason….to learn! Lack of information or knowledge breeds fear.
So again, are our children being bullied? It is up to you to pay close attention to your child’s communications and listen carefully to any new behavior your child is demonstrating. If a child is acting differently, after careful investigation of the usual factors with all else ruled out, consider your child may, in fact, be a target for a school bully… and act on it!