Advice for parents

Responding to a complaint

If your child is bullying, it is important to address their behaviour immediately, as the effects of bullying can be severe for both the bully and their target. If you are contacted by the school regarding your child's behaviour, it is important that you respond appropriately. Please follow the guidelines below.

Listen. Do not interrupt or be aggressive. Listen carefully to what is being said, and write everything down for reference.

Clarify the details. Repeat back what you have heard to ensure you have understood the situation.

Voice your concerns. Make it clear that you find the behaviour described unacceptable, and that you will be talking to your child about the incident.  

Establish expectations. Ask the school how it wishes to proceed, and discuss ways in which you can work together in the best interest of all children involved. Request a copy of the anti-bullying policy and procedures to ensure you are best informed about the process.

Offer information. Do not use defensive language or make accusations, but if there is information about your child that would be helpful to aid in a better understanding of the situation, do make this clear.

Follow up and monitor. Schedule a meeting with the school to discuss how the bullying will be monitored and reported.

If you are approached by an angry parent, do not engage in argument. Try to calm the situation by thanking them for bringing it to your attention and insisting that you have every intention of taking the complaint seriously. If they continue to be abusive, ask them to contact you when they are in a position to talk about it effectively, or prompt them to follow the school's reporting procedure.

Related articles 

Why is my child bullying?
Encouraging positive behaviour
The effects of bullying

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