Spin-Off: If Your Kid Was Bullied, What Would You Expect to Happen?

Updated on February 20, 2014
S.H. asks from Kailua, HI
20 answers

Spin-off to Patricia G's post on "Why is this Okay."

So when or if your kid, is actually bullied, in a TRUE bully manner, what would you expect to happen and the school to do????
I am talking, physical bullying.
ie: My son.
Who, twice, was bullied physically at school in the same week.
This is elementary. 2nd grade.

Due to privacy and confidentiality, the school can't tell me EXACTLY what is being done to the Bully boy as far as punishment.
But what would you expect is done?

In each school setting... elementary, middle school, or high school, there are certain manners in which a student "can" be legally reprimanded or punished etc., due to the developmental age/expectations, of it.
And some of what a school used to do for example, it can be considered as "corporal punishment." Hence they cannot do it. Their hands are tied. ie: if you make an elementary aged kid, pick up rubbish around campus that is perhaps seen as corporal punishment. But, if a high school kid was told to pick up rubbish around campus, that is more "accepted" because at that age, it is not a harsh sentence/punishment and they are mentally & physically developed enough to understand & do it, the said punishment blah blah blah. And suspension... is only a couple of days. The kid comes back to school and there is no guarantee the Bully will not bully again. And SOME kids, actually like... staying in for recess (because they are with the teacher) or they like "suspension" because then they get to stay HOME! blah blah blah....

Anyway, so besides "talking" to the Bully and saying things like "you have to apologize...." or "you know that is wrong...." or "you have to stay in for recess...." (which some parents do not agree with as a 'punishment'), or "you have to write an apology note to the child and parents..." then what the hell, is a school supposed to do???
Because, in reprimanding an elementary aged kid... you can't do things too harshly.
Legality of it too, etc.

So icky Bullies, actually are always, just bullies.
I don't see how they are all of a sudden not, bullies.
Especially with, 'habitual' trouble makers.
They don't care about repercussions or reprimands, or they do not understand it. Or their parents say they are not a "bully" and it is not their fault.
And if their parents/family life is less than ideal... then whoa is me and even the "victim" has to take on the feeling of "oh, we have to feel sorry for those less fortunate than ourselves..." type thing.
Oh to be so politically correct etc.
What an albatross around the neck of the necks of who IS affected by the noxious bully.
Meanwhile the bully is a bully is a bully.
And they don't even care.
They may see the school Counselor for who knows how long. And who knows if that even works.
But for most of the toxic bully kids I see at school (I work at a school), those "bullies" just don't care.
And they do it, knowingly.
And they know ALL the "lectures" that is told to them by all school Staff, by heart. And they still don't care or roll their eyeballs at it. It is just a slap on the wrist. And the Counselor does teach them coping skills, impulse control skills blah blah blah.

Again, I am talking elementary school.
And I am not talking about SPED kids.
What would you expect a school to do, with a Bully?
And, sure I can tell my son "just hit him back..." etc. because with obnoxious bullies like that, they don't care about if they are talked to or if that other kid "uses their words" and tells them "stop it.... I am telling the Teacher.." type thing. But if my son hits back, even in self-defense, he will get in trouble too.

And, even if you tell the school, keep them separate. Well that is hard to do. AND if the obnoxious "bully" keeps trying to play with your kid, even if your kid deflects or avoids that "bully"... the bully can still, try and interact with your, kid.
And unless there is a CONSTANT adult, shadowing that "bully" kid around campus every single second, that Bully kid, can still cause trouble.

Some staff told me that my son and that boy "Johnny" seems like friends, they play etc. To an outside observer, that may SEEM like it.
BUT I TOLD them, NO they are NOT friends, my son is NOT his friend and does not consider him a "friend" and my son is always trying to avoid that kid like all the other kids are because he is a trouble maker.. BUT that "bully"... likes my son and wants to play with him. But then, punches him and causes physical, trouble. If he does not get his way. The "bully" said that he punched my son "because he didn't do what I wanted..." Oh and his arm was around my son's neck and with the other hand punched the back of my son's head.
It was not, just boys being boys.
And that Johnny boy is not special needs or anything nor is he from a splintered home nor is he from an impoverished home.
And there is no way, I will tell my son to TRY and be a friend, that is what the boy needs.

Anyway just ranting.
But, what... would you expect a school to do? About the Bully?
I am going through school protocols and processing, just so you all know.
And I am also requesting that the boys not be in the same class next year.
My son does know how to speak up, and is confident and knows how to physically defend himself and is socially adept..
And sure, he puts on his big boy pants and knows this is life.
And sure we talked to him about it. And the Teacher too. And the Counselor too.
But at the core of it all, it unnerves, him.
He didn't want to go to school, after that.
It was shocking.
He is not that way, at all. That is not him.
But it affected him.

What would you expect, the school to do? To the Bully?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Yep, I too am almost at the point of telling my son, to hit back.
It would be self defense.
But the thing is, the OTHER boy's parent(s), will make trouble too, and then say my son caused it.
As it is, that "Johnny" boy, told the school staff/Principal/Teacher/Counselor that "he ELBOWED ME!!!" and made like he was the victim. Oh whoa is me, type attitude.
I made it CLEAR to the school, THAT my son, was trying to GET AWAY from the boy, otherwise he would have gotten punched, more! For crying out loud.
EVEN my son, told them that.
I mean, the noxious boy had my son in a head lock.
Good grief.
And my son said that although he elbowed the boy to get away, he did it in a place... that would not hurt, him unduly.
How's that?
My son knows, self defense.
And because of that, he could.... potentially get into more trouble, than a Bully. Because, he knows... self-defense.
See how this is so full of crap if a kid tries to defend themselves?

What the hell happens to bullies anyway?
Per school reprimands?
Some approaches work. Some don't.
And sure, it depends on the grade/age level etc. blah blah blah.
But per a family I know, in high school, their daughter was getting bullied.
The school was passive about it.
So then, they called the Cops. Got the bully for assault. Because, there was no end to it. Nor was the school's approach enough.
Of course they had everything documented.
They then transferred their daughter to another school.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I actually have very low expectation of what I would expect the school to do.

I told my children however not to ever allow themselves to be bullied. If that meant hitting back then so be it. I honestly would not care if my child got in trouble for defending themselves. The school can do what they must do and my children will do what they must do. Perhaps empowering my children is the reason they have never been bullied.

When my oldest was in second grade she stopped 5th graders from picking on a 1st grader on the bus. I have a similar story for my youngest.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

My expectation is that school be an environment where bullying doesn't happen, period. So if my child is bullied, the school has already failed.

If it DOES happen, my expectation is that my complaints be taken completely seriously, the first time around, and that the bullying be made to stop.

The school owes this to your son. If they refuse, you're within your rights to talk to a lawyer.

All that said, I wouldn't have one punishment/response in mind for every kid. For one kid, bullying could be an expression of trauma. For another, it could be a sign of some kind of neurological issue. For another, the bully could just be a classic "bad seed." I don't think one response fits all. The school has to sit the kid down and offer a combination of services and consequences, whatever is appropriate for THAT kid.

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answers from Iowa City on

My daughter was bullied along with most of her classmates by what I refer to as the class bully. This girl would physically grab other children's clothing and threaten to hit them, kick them, etc. At one point she ripped a hole in my daughter's jeans (there was a worn spot to begin with). I expected the school to separate the bully from her 'victims', talk with her and her parents, and offer her counseling. And that is what happened. The girl sits at the end of her group of desks so she has no neighbor to pick on. If she starts acting up the teacher steps in immediately. She is watched at recess to make sure she is behaving. She has to write apology notes. The thing is, her home life is awful. Her parents are awful. She doesn't really have a good outlet for her misery. So she takes it out on the happy kids. She is working really hard at being a good classmate. With the help of the school counselor and teacher this little girl has maybe 2 bad episodes a week which is great for her.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

What would I expect from the school? I would expect that my child would be safe. That is what I would expect. If my child was hit all the time, I would escalate it to the superintendent of the district. If nothing changed, I would threaten legal action.

I would also let my child defend himself and deal with the consequences. It has been our experience that when the child fight back with the bully, the bully moves on. At least that is what happened in our son's case. We tried all kinds of things, but the bully was from New Orleans right after Katrina and no one wanted to confront this kid and his family. We had enough. I told Chase to defend himself and he did.

The principle attempted to suspend our son, along with the bully and I politely yet firmly stated that I had all the phone logs from our conversations and kept notes and names. I also told him that if they suspended our son I would seek legal counsel and you bet you bottom dollar we would have. =)

That is what I would expect.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Well, this has happened to both my kids. When my daughter was in either second or third grade, two kids got EXPELLED for bullying her. When my son was in third grade, the school physically separated him and another boy who was bullying him. All the staff knew about it, watched out for it, and when they saw the boy around my son, would actively move him away. He had to sit away from him at lunch, play in a different area at lunch and recess, etc. It got better after that but maybe because he moved on to pick on another kid, I don't know. But I'm one of those mean mama bears and the school knows it. Whatever you "think" the school should or shouldn't do, don't back down and fight for your kid. Really, you have to think about what you and your son would be happy with and see if the school will enforce it. Sometimes, it's just teaching your kid there are mean people everywhere and how he needs to handle them. Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would expect the school to do something FOR the bully, not to him. Are we really ok writing off 8 year olds for the rest of their lives? Really? I would expect the school to work with the bully and his parents to help him learn empathy - and yes empathy is something that CAN be learned. I would also expect the school to have an anti-bullying program in place that I could refer to and that the school would follow. Some of the most effective anti-bullying programs are NOT aimed at either the bully or the victim. They are aimed at most of us - the bystanders. When kids learn to stand up for other kids (and it is easier to do than standing up for oneself when one is being victimized), the bully becomes the socially inappropriate one and the behavior changes.

Kids learn from the natural consequences of their behaviors - not necessarily from either what adults impose as 'logical' consequences or from out and out punishment. When the natural consequence of picking on another kid is being left out, not being feared or rewarded then bullies learn more appropriate social interaction. Kids bully because it gets them something - attention, power, fear. Schools can change the reward system.

Or we can all just send those 8 year olds off for incarceration, right?

The biggest bully of my elementary years is currently a very nice, fine upstanding member of his community and a DA.

There is good evidence that hitting children results in children who have MORE behavior problems in school (along with a wealth of other issues). Do you think if the school hit your son's bully that he would reconsider his behavior and elect to turn over a new leaf? I suspect he would take his anger/humiliation out on your son - or some new victim.

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answers from Austin on

I teach high school and we have a pretty strict anti bullying policy. What we do for any bullying or fighting is to take away the student's discretionary time on campus. So in addition to the suspension or clean up penance the students no longer have lunch time out on campus or even time between classes where they are not escorted. They are in the presence of a monitor or administrator at all times. They are even walked to the bathroom. For verbal harrassment, bullying or fighting, no matter what, the student no longer is allowed to be a threat to other students. We no longer have fights on campus and really only Freshmen and immature sophomores end up on escort. The students (and their apologist parents) hate the policy but it works!

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answers from San Antonio on

My daughter was bullied from the 2nd grade to the 4th, same girl all 3 grades, I made formal requests to the school to keep the girls apart. either in different classes or across the room from each other, the father of the girl confronted me after school when I was picking up my girl, (real Gem of a guy) yelling, poking his finger in my chest, threats!, I (I don’t know how) stayed calm and simply said, "Sir, YOU do not live in this schools boundaries, So either you back off and get the f-k out of my face, or I will go to the school and inform them of your REAL address" He backed off and his girl (nut doesn't fall far from the tree!) started to back off but bullied another girl who did fight back. Not ideal, but it worked and taught my daughter compassion.

BTW, have any of y'all seen the Netflix documentary Bully?
OMG!!!! it seems like kids are bullied at school then almost bullied at HOME, made me think twice about what exactly and HOW I say things to my kids. example; a boy is being bullied on the bus, he tells the principal who makes the other boy apologize and the bullied boy has to "get over it", the bullied boy goes home and tells his parents who in turn get mad? annoyed? with him and almost yell at him "I've told you stay away from hi, hit him back!" OMG he needed a shoulder to cry on!! and he never got it,
the movie had me in tears. it is worth it to watch.

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answers from Washington DC on

My kid was bullied. It always happened during 2 times, before school, and recess.

Before school, out in front of the buses, and teachers that were there would say that they weren't looking in their direction when the incident happened.

During recess, the most often, I tried to tell my son to stay on the opposite end of the area from the bully. Not always easy. I told my kid to stay near the teachers. He didn't. When he didn't, something would happen.

What did I expect? If you know a kid is being a bully at recess, than that kid should spend his recess time in the office.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I am right where you are. My son is in 2nd grade and has been injured by the same kid twice in the last 2 months. I watched the documentary "Bully" and highly recommend you watch that if you haven't. Basically, I am no longer waiting for the school to help my son. I have started coaching him to fight back. I know my son is the type of child who doesn't have a mean bone in his body and will not hurt another kid, even if he is being hit repeatedly, so I am empowering him to fight.

My son has some coping skills where he tries to befriend the person and laugh it off and make it seem like no big deal to him. I have seen him do this each time he is being bullied by another child, or picked on by a friend. I was with him last night when one of his "friends" from an activity started punching him in his sides and stomach repeatedly, so I used that opportunity to whisper in his ear to "punch him back!". At first he told me no, that he didn't need to, that it wasn't hurting him. The other kid kept hitting him, so I kept encouraging him to hit him back. He finally did, and guess what? The other kid stopped hitting immediately.

I have researched this online and have seen that basically the only thing that stops a bully is fighting back, often physically. I have told my sweet son that I will stand up for him no matter what. If he ever ends up in the principal's office for something like this, I know in my heart that he will be the one who was defending himself. I have also told him not to hit another child in the face - even though he was hit in the face twice by this other kid and had to receive medical attention because of it.

I have heard from the school that the other kid has been disciplined, but they cannot share with me what that means. I do know that they called his parent's after the first time. I also know that they "investigated" the situation, which basically means they talked to each boy and made the boy apologize. The bully denies he did anything each time and they tried to make it seem like my child is overreacting. Hello!! My child has injuries to his face that required medical treatment! It's not just fun and boys will be boys. I requested that they have someone watch the bully at recess and shadow him. They listened to me, but then said it wasn't him the last time my child got hit - even though my child saw him come out of no where and throw an object at his face and run off. So, you just can't win. I have documented everything and they are looking at a lawsuit if it happens again. I have family members telling me I should contact the police, but over 2nd graders!? I guess I'll hope my son can get it to stop before I have to resort to that.

So, to answer your question, I expected a meeting with both sets of parents, I expected to see that the other boy was suspended after the first time for a few days, I expected to hear that he was being closely monitored at recess, I expected to hear that a counselor would be involved so he could work on not attacking other kids out of frustration. None of this happened and the bully struck again. He's not just doing it to my kid either. He recently gave another child a bloody nose. So, I have no idea what to do other than to empower your own child to fight back. I am the most gentle person and never thought I would teach my child to do this, but if I can protect him by teaching him to stand up, then so be it. My motto now is, "punch him in the gut". Good luck and I hope you see some progress and peace in your situation.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

We use the Restitution Model in our school division and it has been quite successful. It gives children internal motivation to change behaviour, rather than external motivations such as rewards and punishments. So the school doesn't "do" anything to the bully, but the school helps the bully to self assess his behaviour and how it affects others. This is done by setting up rules based on belief systems, that address the needs of the students. So, part of restitution is helping the student understand why he is behaving like a bully, ie what need is that behaviour meeting. Then we find other ways for the child to meet that need that is not hurting others.

Anyway, our kids are to follow a problem solving procedure on the playground. The first step is to tell the bully to stop the behaviour and why. Second step is to tell the supervisor or teacher. Third step is to write a note about the problem to the counsellor. Lastly, if the problem has not been resolved the student is to then go to the principal.

Then, as part of the resolution, all parties involved get together and make a social contract.

Sounds complicated, but it has been quite successful.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I'd expect them to follow the rules and penalties as laid out in their school bully policy.
Often it's not enough.

7th grade was a year straight out of hell for me (this was 1975).
I had 3 girls gang up on me.
I was pushed down and up stairs, slammed into repeatedly, had my books knocked out of my arms and kicked around and had the ball slammed into my face over and over again in dodge ball.
I came home crying so many times I lost count.
I considered suicide but fortunately I discarded that idea.
The school did NOTHING to them.
This was long before school shootings but if there was anyone I ever wished dead it was these three girls.
I WAS THE ONE who was sent to the school counselor and school psychologist - and they said I was a perfectly ok kid - but they did nothing to stop the bullying.
My Mom tried to talk to their parents and they turned around and told their kids to give it to me some more - some parents are real bastards.
The next year it stopped.
I had dropped a few pounds and wore contact lenses - there was nothing I could do about the braces for a few more years.
It stopped basically because they no longer recognized me so they moved on to pick on someone else.
One of my tormentors died in a one car accident sometime before our 10 year high school reunion.
I can't say I was ever terribly choked up about it.

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answers from Detroit on

As a teacher and as a parent what I would LIKE to happen is for the PARENT(S) of the bully to be held accountable. I have no tolerance for bullying or just "being mean' for that matter. However, I often feel like my hands are tied to a point. And I get really tired of it being "the school's" fault when the parents are the ones that are raising their kid to be a bully. ( yes - I know there are cases where the bully is being abused at home and this is why he/she acts like that. I am NOT talking about those cases. I mean just the really lousy parenting cases). I guess I am having my own little "rant' here, too!

I would recommend that youmake sure they are not in the same class next year. I know that doesn't solve the lunch and recess time issues, but it is a start.

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answers from Miami on

After reading what is happening to your son and seeing that nothing that they do is working, and that the parents of the child don't care, I think that perhaps you might consider hiring an attorney to send the parents a letter telling them that you will take them to court if their son doesn't stop physically abusing your son. They might stop ignoring this if all of a sudden they have to pay money because their son hurts another child.

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answers from Chicago on

I teach my kids...Do not start the fight. Use your words. But if someone else lays a mean hand on you...make sure YOU finish the fight, and YOU are the one still standing. That is the only tried and true way to handle and eliminate bullying. Period.

My kids will never, ever, ever get in trouble for defending themselves, not matter what "punishment" the school may issue.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I'd expect a suspension. My son was suspended in 3rd grade for talking back to his teacher and another time for pushing a chair over. He has ADHD and ODD and wasn't doing well at that point. If he can be suspended over smaller (but still serious) infractions like that, bullying certainly demands a suspension. We were expected to solve his issues ASAP, even though we were already tapping the expertise of medical professionals. If we're dealing with a legitimate medical problem and can work with our son to overcome it, parents of bullies can certainly do the same. If the problem persists, expulsion for the bully.

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answers from New York on

Oh so many things here
First sometimes a kid's perception of being bullied is not quite reality. My daughter, at age 7 or so, was convinvced this one boy was being mean to her and punching her when in fact (I saw with my own eyes) that he was tapping her shoulder when he wanted to get her attention. She didn't like this boy, so she hated having him even tap her arm. In her mind it became a punch.

When my son was in 1st grade he & his friends were on the slide - one would stand up, legs spread and make a "tunnel" for the other boys to slide through. When a girl joined them (wearing a dress) and my son slide under the "tunnel" the teachers aide happened to notice and my son was pulled into the principals office. The little girl had no idea what was happening, but I got a call from the principal! (He has never since been in any kind of trouble like that.)

So - sometimes what can seem to be bullying isnt really.

On the other hand there are kids who are bullies. There was a boy in my son's grade who, in 5th grad threatened another boy, took his prized NY Yankees genuine hat (that his late mother had given him) off his head, threw it in a puddle and when the boy protested the bully child threatened to pound his head with a big rock. 2 years later the same kid tells the other same kid the reason his mother died was beacause she couldn't stand to be his mother and that's the only way she could get out. (The boy whose mom died of cancer is my immediate neighbor - she died of cancer in less than a year and left 4 kids - the youngest not even a year old and our sons were best buddies growing up.) That was the only other time my son had to speak with the principal becuase he slugged the bully kid and told him he better run. The principal called to tell me that initially he had my son to his office thinking he was being the bully but all the other kids there told the realy story and the principal called to congratulate me on my son's standing up for his best friend. PS the bully is a thin, wirey guy - my son is a head taller than him.

I did learn that the school cannot tell a victim's family what the discipline is for the bully. In our district it's usually suspension - even for young kids. as they get older it's "in-school" suspension so they're not rewarded by getting to stay home and play video games all day but instead have to be in a room away from their friends under close supervision while they do school projects. younger kids are sent home.

The only thing I can say is that kids who are bullies generally come from rough families. If they have both parents one of them is physical with the kid. Or there's an older step brother or step father or crazy mother situation.

While they need understanding our primary role is to protect our kids. It's not always easy!



answers from Las Vegas on

If it were continual bullying, I would want the bully suspended. I run into the same problem, my child is twice the size of the rest of the kids in her grade and is in excellent physical shape. If she were to hit anyone back, she would probably send them sailing.

While most 2nd graders are about 45 - 50 lbs, she is 96lbs. Most of them come to her shoulders, as she is 4'8". She plays hockey and figure skates, so even when I try to move her, it doesn't work so well.

I have watched a kid play as though he were going to hit her, it was noticeable this was annoying her. I just kind of laughed and shook my head and said, "No, don't play like that because you don't want her to hit you back".

I remind her all the time, it is never okay to hit back. If she were ever hit and it were not evident that she hit them, I would expect and demand something be done...just because I tell her she cannot touch anyone.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I taught my daughter that she was never to throw the first punch, but that if she were hit, to fight back, and fight dirty.

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