Protecting Our Kids From Bullying and Harassment

by Khadija Gurnah

At Mom’s Rising, we’re hearing from parents of school-aged children across the country who are feeling anxious as a result of the election. Parents who are struggling with how they can make sure the children in their communities feel safe in the face of increased bullying and harassment in schools.

We hear your concerns and are here to help.

As a first step, we encourage you to reach out to your child’s school and talk with them about the plans or policies they have in place to deal with bullying. Even if your child hasn’t encountered any problems, it’s a good idea because it’s helpful to have an existing relationship with the school administration in case any problems come up.

So reach out to your school, either directly, or possibly through your PTA and ask about the school’s policies on bullying. Ask about how you, the school, and other parents, can work together to ensure all children are protected from bullying or hostility.

If you need more help than your school administration is providing, the agencies listed below are ready to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to them to get help, and to report incidents, concerns and challenges. Schools should be a safe welcoming space for all children. If this isn’t the case for any children in your community, we want to make sure you have the resources you need to support them.

For problems in school:

Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

The OCR’s mission is to make sure children have equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.

·        File a complaint online for bullying or harassment of students

·       Find your regional Office of Civil Rights office

·       Data on education-related civil rights incidents

For problems outside of school:

Department of Justice, (DOJ), Community Relations Service

The DOJ provides support in conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability.

·        Find your regional Community Relations Service office

·        Information for religious groups

·        Multimedia resource center

For help in addressing bullying:

StopBullying.gov

Mentoring Programs

Mentoring can help to improve self-esteem, academic achievement, and peer relationships. Many mentoring programs, such as the Boys and Girls club, provide children an opportunity to build the social support networks they need to build resilience.

Find a local mentoring program for your child

In addition to the above resources, MomsRising has also compiled a list of blog posts and articles with guides for how to talk to your children about the election. You can read the blog post and see those resources here: http://www.momsrising.org/blog/november-9th-2016-moving-forward-families-to-be-stronger-together-0

Khadija Gurnah is the Campaign Director for Mom’s Rising’s Healthy Kids Team

Featured image is a Wiki Commons photo

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