Ask the Experts

Stop The Bullying! Getting Help for a Child with ADHD

“My son Joshua, 11, has been bullied since a classmate found out that he has ADHD and ODD. He said that he told the teacher. The teacher told me that my son hadn’t said anything to her. What should I do?”

Once you spoke to your son’s teacher, she should have taken immediate steps to investigate, intervene, and put an end to the bullying. If that has not happened, you need to go on record with the school, stating that you believe your son is being bullied because of his disabilities. I generally recommend starting with a meeting with the classroom teacher, but it sounds like the teacher has not addressed the bullying after she was told about it. You should meet with the principal and follow up with a written confirmation of your discussion. If it persists, you should remind the school of its obligation under the law to take steps to eliminate bullying.

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights reminded schools two years ago that bullying can be a denial of the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE): “When a school knows or should know of bullying conduct based on a student’s disability…the school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the bullying, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent it from recurring, and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.”

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