Ask the Experts

Your Child’s Legal Right to Learn Without Bullying

“My 12-year-old son, who has ADHD, is being bullied at school. One boy punches him in front of classmates. The school says they will keep the two boys separated. However, my kid’s self-esteem is in the pits. Please help.”

Bullying is a problem that affects students nationwide. Laws requiring schools to formulate policies on bullying vary from district to district — so it’s important to investigate your school’s policy on it.

It is also important that you document any new instances of bullying, and put the school on notice of the inappropriate behaviors affecting your son. Such documentation should be detailed — include dates, locations, witnesses, and a description of the events. You should also document the actions the school takes once it is told about the bullying.

Request a specific plan from your school to manage the bullying. If your son has a disability and has either an IEP or 504 Plan, it may be appropriate to incorporate special interventions into that plan to protect him. If the bullying is based on behavior that is tied to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, a complaint of discrimination may be filed with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.