5 Secrets About Bullying Your Principal Wants You to Know

Learn the top things principals wish parents knew about school bullying


When it comes to bullying at school, principals have a tough job. They have to figure out what truly happened in any given bullying incident using information gathered from distraught teenagers and video footage (when it is available) and adult eyewitnesses (if there are any). Then, they have to deal with parents who want to weigh in on the situation. And they must do all of this while adhering to privacy laws and district guidelines.

What’s more, principals still have a job to do. Addressing bullying is not their only responsibility. All that said, what are the things principals wish parents knew when it comes to bullying at school? Here are the top five secrets principals want you to know.

You are right; that kid is a bully. But privacy laws mean I cannot tell you that. And just so you know, I am in the process of suspending her and taking away privileges at school. Please do not assume that I do not care or that I do not see what is taking place in my school. I just cannot share a lot of information with you. That is why I am sitting here quietly while you complain.

Please don’t tell me your child would never lie to you or that he would never bully. Remember, all kids make mistakes, even yours. And the best students are almost always afraid to tell their parents when they mess up. Yes, any child is capable of bullying, including yours.

What’s more, we almost never see the same child at school that you see at home. Keep in mind that kids act differently around family members than they do around friends, teachers or authority figures. 

Dealing with bullies is the easy part. The parents who want to solve their kids’ problems for them are the difficult part.

If your child is bullying others at school, the best thing you can do for him is to support the consequences he receives rather than trying to rescue him. When kids experience consequences for their mistakes, then they are more likely to grow and learn. Likewise, if your child is the one being bullied, treat me as an ally not the enemy. I want to keep your child safe just as much as you do. Give me the space to do my job. If I have to spend all my time discussing the incident with you that means less time I have to investigate the situation, apply consequences and implement safeguards.

The last thing I want to do on the sidelines of a football game is have a conference. If you have something to talk to me about, please come by the school during the day or make an appointment to meet with me. But do not expect to discuss a bullying incident that occurred two days ago during a school function. First, I cannot discuss such a sensitive topic, one that requires privacy, in a public setting, especially if you need to name names.

Second, when I am at a football game, my responsibility is to monitor student behavior. It is not the time to get into a deep conversation about an issue that can, and should be, discussed in the privacy of my office.

Posting information about the bullying your child experienced on social media does not help your child. And it does not sway the way I handle the situation. (And, yes I know you are posting it for my benefit.) But remember this: When you post private details about the bullying your child has gone through you are really just traumatizing your child again. Bullying is often extremely painful and humiliating as it is, but it is also embarrassing for your child to have the entire world know what happened.

Additionally, that type of public announcement sets your daughter up for more bullying. Other kids may join in the bullying or people may gossip about what she experienced. I understand that you are upset by what your child experienced and you want action quickly. But exposing your child’s experience before she has healed is not in her best interest. Keep in mind this bullying experience is your child’s story to tell. Once she has recovered and dealt with the issue, then she should be the one to share her story in a way that will help others. Instead, focus on helping your child heal from the bullying she experienced.

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