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Julie Clark  StopRA@gmail.com

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Bullies at the bus stop

Q: My son, and several other children, are often picked on by the older kids at the bus stop. There isn't much they can do to ignore these bullies, they have to wait for the bus. Their bus picks up all grades, from K-12, as we are in a small town. Some of the older kids take the younger kids belongings and throw them in the road, or in the ditch across the street. This past Friday, one of the middle school boys was shoving my son and pushed him into the street as a car was coming. He wasn't hit, but did get a cut on his head that required stitches. I had to take the day off, and my son lost 2 days from school from the incident. We've complained to the school, but nothing happens. Do we just have to put up with this? It's terrible that our kids can't even wait for their school bus without being hurt by bullies!
 
A: I agree, it is terrible. It isn't fair. But there are some things you can do. If your schools gives out a handbook or other document at the beginning of school that outlines what the rights and responsibilities of students are, read it to find out what is said about riding the bus and bus stops. In my son's elementary school handbook years ago, when kids were at the bus stop, they were considered to be on school property. If that is the case where you live, then there is something that can be done about it.

 
You could ask the neighbors to keep an eye out and let a parent, or the school, know what is going on. Even better would be if you and some of the other parents could take turns monitoring the bus stop. Parents often forget that they are the backbone of their communities. They often work together to get parks, recreational programs, schools, and so on. A safe bus stop is something else that they can do, and it only takes a few minutes twice a day. An adult presence is something that kids need in their lives, and bus stops can be dangerous places.
 
The parents of the bullies should be made aware of their children's bullying. They should be informed of your son's accident and the problems it caused for you and your son. Hopefully the school will see the seriousness of the incident and will be more proactive in
preventing future incidents. Putting the bullies off of the bus for a period of time would hopefully help.
 
If the school does nothing and the bullying continue, if I were in this situation today, I'd get all of the parents of bullied kids together and form a carpool. Then, send a letter to the principal informing him/her that, from now on, your children will be transported to school via
carpool rather than the school bus, and outline the unsafe conditions...older kids shoving younger ones into the road, throwing their belongings across the road (the younger ones would likely chance running across the road to retrieve their items), and so on. There is strength in numbers, where, too often, a single parent is blown off or told that she is the only one complaining. Banding together, you will achieve more. It sends a message to the kids that you care, to the bullies that you are onto them, and to the school that you're mad as heck and not gonna take it anymore!

This is a question taken from the Q&A area where Julie and Dr. Stein answer questions on bullying, relational aggression, general parenting, and ADD/ADHD. To join the members-only area where you can ask questions, use the members-only Forum (safe and moderated), and read past Q&As and columns, click here: Membership area Membership

 

Daughter and Relational Aggression Trauma

Q: I've read your website on Relational Aggression. My daughter suffered through this for several years before we took her out of school to homeschool. She's in seventh grade now. She went to therapy for a little while but her therapist didn't think that she needed to come back, that she was dealing with it well. However, she tends to only want to be with me. She has lost all interest in the hobbies she used to have. Is this normal? What should I do? The only girls she is still somewhat friends with are getting tired of her only wanting to talk about what happened at her old school. She only talks to them on the phone or when they come to our home, which is becoming increasingly rare. What can I do to help her? Thanks!

 

To read the answer to this, and other questions and answers, join the members-only area where you can ask questions, use the members-only Forum (safe and moderated), and read past Q&As and columns, click here: Membership area Membership

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