What to Do If Your Child Is Facing Racist Bullying at School
Bullying is already on the rise , but there has been a surge in blatant racist bullying in schools since Tuesday. No matter how you feel about elections , this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. If your child is experiencing racist bullying and you are unsure of what to do, here’s where you can go for help.
It looks like Tuesday’s results allowed a lot of people to get out of line and express their most hated, racist thoughts and opinions. It can be scary, and for children it can be detrimental to their studies . If your child is experiencing any type of racism, there are several steps you can take to deal with it.
Ask the school for help
Obviously, you want to bring any incidents to the attention of the school first. Your child’s teacher may not even know what’s going on, so call and make an appointment to discuss the problem. If the teacher is unhelpful or unsure of what to do, talk to the counselor or school principal, or if other parents have similar experiences, you can arrange for a parent-teacher meeting.
This is obvious, but it is still your first and important course of action. Author and certified school social worker Signe Whitson puts it this way :
The best strategy for dealing with bullying as a parent is to reach out to as many people as possible to make sure the bullying ends. If you’ve reached out to your child’s teacher and received a gentle, disinterested, or understated response, fear not. Continue to contact the rest of the school staff – preferably along the chain of command – to make sure your voice (and more importantly, your child’s) is heard.
You also want to document any phone calls, meetings, or discussions. As Whitson suggests, write down your goals for the conversation, and at the end of the meeting, write down any decisions you agree with. Then ask interested parties to sign. As Whitson notes, creating a paper trail is not so much an attempt to bring trouble to the school as it is organizing the process, simplifying it and keeping everyone on the same level.
Of course, the problem is that not all schools, teachers or administrators are responsive. They can downplay the problem or abandon it altogether. However, if they are reluctant to help, you may have other resources.
When to report it
First, if there has been an act or threat of violence, or someone has vandalized or destroyed your property, this is not just bullying; it is a crime. Most hate crimes are underreported, according to the US Department of Justice.
You should first apply to the local police. Make sure the officer assigns a case number and writes down any other important information, including the officer’s name. The Campaign for Human Rights suggests asking the office to check the box “Motivated by hate / prejudice” or “Crime / incident motivated by hate” in the incident report.
The FBI is also required to investigate any “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against race, religion, disability, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.” You should file a report with your local office and you can find FBI field offices in your state here .
If your child’s school refuses to fight bullying, you can file a complaint with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights . Federal civil rights laws require any programs or activities funded by the Department of Education to provide an environment free of discrimination, including in schools. They explain:
Programs or activities that receive ED funds must provide assistance, benefits, or services in a non-discriminatory manner in an environment free from discriminatory harassment that limits educational opportunities. Such benefits, benefits or services may include, but is not limited to, admission, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, class assignments, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics. … , and housing
You can file an online complaint to ask the Department of Education to investigate any incidents.
How to talk to your children about it
In addition to reporting the incident, you can also talk to your child about racism. You need to make sure your child knows that bullying, teasing, or violence has nothing to do with him or her. Here’s what the foster family has to offer :
Make sure your child knows that racial taunt is not just about him, but that it is a big problem in our world, and that even adults find it difficult to deal with this behavior. After your child describes the incident and how he feels about it, demonstrate a problem-solving approach. This is a process that adults work on almost automatically, but young children need to be taught.
They suggest that you talk to your child and ask him to identify the problem, and then discuss all possible solutions and consequences.
Psychologist Dana S. Iyer warns against your child simply ignoring the problem:
Racism doesn’t disappear just because they look the other way. Such experiences can make children feel powerless, ignoring them can lead to more helplessness and avoidance … Bullies tend to find fault with children they perceive as weaker or less loving, and usually pursue their goals in groups when the goal is alone or with her. children they don’t feel will take revenge.
Also, you don’t want to play down the problem. Iyer suggests teaching your child to be assertive and talk about the problem with someone he trusts.
Look for signs
Children are not always open about their problems, so you should be aware of the signs that your child may be experiencing racism, even if he or she did not pay your attention to it. They may refuse to go to school, or appear anxious or depressed. Psychology Today points to several other signs that may be less obvious:
- Speaks negatively about ethnicity / race, disdains other representatives of the same ethnicity , expresses a desire to be a different ethnicity, i.e. expresses a desire to be white, to have lighter skin
- Is embarrassed to participate in cultural events or events that draw attention to ethnicity
- Begins to study poorly
This is not just a nasty problem, it is a very dreadful problem. Racism is a pervasive worrying problem that we cannot solve with a single complaint or conversation, but resources are there, and when the time comes to use them, you will want to know where to go.