Dear ADDitude

Dear ADDitude: How Can I Protect My Child from Bullies?

“There are a few boys at school who have been picking on my son and saying they are going to beat him up, which a teacher overheard. I’m very concerned that the principal, after questioning them, sent the boys back to class without calling me. First, what is an appropriate response from the school? Second, am I over reacting? I’m so upset over this and can’t think clearly.”

ADDitude Answers

Sadly, kids with ADHD and other special needs are often the targets of bullying. These articles, Bullying at School: Is Your Kid a Victim? and How to Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullies provide more background on the issue and suggestions for practical next steps.

When my son was taunted and picked on relentlessly in third grade by a boy in his class, the teacher said they were just “being boys” and that the bully’s dad played rough with him at home. Neither of these were good excuses; there is no excuse for bullying. They even pulled his pants down in the middle of the classroom when there was a sub one day—that finally got to the principal and was swiftly punished. It breaks my heart that it had to come to that!

Request a meeting with the principal and the teachers to let them know that you expect them to keep an eye out for him and that you will not tolerate any more teasing, name calling, or threats. If it continues without intervention, take it to the school board.

Posted by Penny
community moderator, author on ADHD parenting, mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

A Reader Answers

I would speak directly to the teacher. If she doesn’t immediately address the problem, I would go over her head and contact the principal.

The bottom line is that she did not give you an appropriate response. Our school has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, including academic bullying, which is a big problem here. Thankfully, there is a specific protocol in place to address these situations. I would be persistent until you get both answers and assurance that this will not happen again in school.

Posted by Pdxlaura

A Reader Answers

This is not right.

I would email the principal and copy the teacher who heard it happening. Scan the threatening notes and add them to the email. Ask the principal to detail the school’s next steps. Be sure to keep a paper trail and document everything, just in case.

What would you like to happen? I don’t have a definite answer myself, but I know that a school should take this more seriously. I think a zero-tolerance policy on bullying is the right thing – the school and principal should step up and be proactive.

Posted by fdm

A Reader Answers

Our son was bullied in school when he was in sixth grade. Once we found out about it, we immediately called the school. The school social worker talked with us about what was going on and then dealt with the student who had been behind the bullying. We have not had an issue since. I would definitely involve the school and make teachers and administrators aware of what is going on. You are not at the school – they are and should be able to take action when this happens.

Posted by Ry’sMom