As the Superintendent of Schools, I would like to take this opportunity to share some important information about your child’s safety and well-being. This upcoming week, the Eatontown Public Schools will be recognizing a Week of Respect which is mandated by the Anti-bullying Bill of Rights Act. The purpose of this time is to highlight the importance of character education and to provide age-appropriate, educational activities focused on preventing harassment, intimidation, or bullying.
In this letter, you will find some simple, but viable tips to help you support your child as well as our district. Please review these reminders and utilize this information as appropriate. As an educational community, we appreciate your valuable support in this area.
Possible signs and symptoms of a bullied child:
- Is the child afraid to walk to or from school?
- Does the child not want to ride the school bus?
- Does the child appear apprehensive about going to school, complain of headaches or feeling ill prior to leaving for school in the morning?
- Does the child come home with clothing or personal items damaged?
- Does the child appear sad or depressed about going to school?
- Does the child come home from school with any physical injuries such as bruises, cuts, or scratches?
- Does it appear the child is either losing money or frequently requesting money?
- Does the child seem socially isolated with few, if any, friends?
- Does it appear the child is sleeping more than usual, or does the child appear tired as if they have not gotten enough sleep?
Warning signs that child may be bullying at school:
- Does the child have a strong need to dominate and subdue others?
- Is the child intimidating his siblings or children in the neighborhood?
- Does the child brag about his actual or imagined superiority over other children?
- Is the child hot tempered, easily angered or impulsive with a low frustration level?
- Does the child have difficulty conforming to rules and tolerating adversity or delays?
- Does the child cheat on games or while playing with friends?
- Is the child defiant or aggressive toward adults including teachers or their own parents?
- Is the child anti-social?
- Is the child hanging out with the “wrong” crowd?
Suggestions for Parents:
- Take time each day to have a conversation with your child about his or her day-to-day life and activities. If a child is comfortable talking to their parent about school, friends, and activities, they will feel comfortable talking to their parent if they become a target of bullying.
- Parents should spend time at school. Encourage parents to volunteer and be part of the school community.
- Parents should lead by example with signs and expressions of kindness. Children learn from watching and observing their parents.
- Parents should learn the signs and symptoms of bullying and the signs and symptoms of a bully.
- Parents should establish and enforce family rules that let children know that bullying behavior is harmful to others and is not acceptable.
- Parents should encourage the child to stand-up to help those who are being bullied. We know bystander students can be very effective in stopping bullying behavior.
- Parents should teach their children about cyber-bullying and the impact of sending mean, cruel, or threatening internet messages.
Ways parents can respond to children who are bullied:
- Parents should not over-react or under-react when being told by their child that they have been bullied at school. The parents should not dismiss the child’s experience. If a child has the courage to tell someone they have been bullied, it could be devastating to be told to “work it out for yourself” or “they are just teasing you.”
- Parents should not place the blame for the incident on their child.
- Parents should expect the child to have a difficult time dealing with being a target of bullying.
- Parents should encourage their child to keep talking about the incident if the child feels the need to discuss. They also should ask them how their days are going at school. Parents need to provide extra support and encouragement to the child during these times.
- If a child is reluctant to talk to their parent, the parent should encourage the child to talk to another adult, such as a family member, or a trusted teacher.
- Research indicates responding to a bully in an aggressive manner will not make the bully go away. The parent should encourage the child to stay away from the alleged bully and let the school investigate and remedy the problem.
What parents of an alleged bully can do:
- A parent should be encouraged to take the problem as a serious matter.
- Parents should question and listen carefully to their child in their investigation of the allegations.
- A parent should try to find out the reasons for the child’s bullying behavior and seek help from the school.
- Upon receiving such a report that their child has been bullying at school, parent should make it clear that this conduct must stop immediately.
Tips to avoid/deal with cyber-bullying:
- Parents should be advised to keep computers in an area of the home where the child’s actions on the computer can be supervised.
- Parents should establish and enforce reasonable limits for the amount of time children spend on the computer.
- Parents should have access to their children’s online accounts including passwords and other security measures for websites.
- Parents should inform their children to report to them if they feel they are a victim of cyber-bullying.
- Parents should have some basic knowledge of the internet sites their child uses.
- Parents should discuss online chat rooms and what is appropriate for their child to post on these internet sites.
- Parents should occasionally sit with their child while the child is working or communicating online.
As a district, we hope these tips and reminders will be helpful to you. We appreciate your cooperation and support in helping to make the Eatontown Public Schools a safe and comfortable place for student learning.
Scott T. McCue
Superintendent of Schools