The negative effects of bullying cannot be overstated. It’s an epidemic that causes real harm to impressionable young people—harm that is all too often irreparable. The question is, do you have any legal recourse when it gets to be too much? Here, we’ll take a closer look at the answers.
While bullying is never okay, what compounds the issue is the fact that it seldom stops there. Bullying often leads to something worse, especially if it’s allowed to continue unchecked. Even more frightening? The victims themselves might come to lash out in dramatic fashion. Many of the people who have gone on to commit mass shootings were victims of bullying at some point.
Violence in schools is a very real concern parents and teachers should have. That’s why it’s imperative to stop bullying in its tracks as soon as the behavior presents itself.
With the advent of the internet, bullying is no longer confined to the school grounds. Texting and social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Snapchat have given rise to a new form of torment known as cyberbullying. This usually consists of sending mean or threatening messages, or else posting something online that’s hurtful or otherwise embarrassing to the target. Content that is shared online can often be viewed by strangers as well as acquaintances. In some cases, shared content that’s damaging in nature can resurface later in life.
Despite the many ways parents try to keep kids safe online, online bullying is still growing. Since digital devices are so common nowadays, it can be difficult (if not impossible) for the target to completely disengage from the person who’s doing the bullying. What’s worse, the exchanges can take place in complete silence, making it harder for parents and school officials to track or even notice the behavior.
The majority of U.S. states now have both laws and policy in place to protect against bullying. The downside? In as many as 80 percent of cases wherein a child is being bullied, no adult comes to their rescue. Unfortunately, not enough teachers and administrators have been trained to deal with the situation. According to most state laws, the school is legally required to take action, so be sure to keep the administration’s feet to the fire until the problem is resolved.
Finally, be aware that while there are currently no federal laws that directly address bullying, discriminatory harassment is a federal case. If your child is being bullied on account of their gender, race, sexuality, or disability, then you have strong legal recourse and should seek immediate action.