Bullying at school

What are your rights?

Bullying at school is every parent’s worst nightmare. Sending your child off to school every day knowing they’ll be feeling alone, targeted and afraid of what the bullies are going to say or do next, can be heartbreaking.

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It’s often the case that parents feel their concerns for their child’s wellbeing aren’t being listened to, and that little is actually being done at school to keep their child safe.

Education Law expert Sam Hale from Simpson Millar Solicitors explains your options if your child is a victim of bullying.

What can parents do to stop bullying?

If your child is being bullied at school, there are a number of steps that can be taken in an effort to bring an end to it:

Telling the school

Your child’s school is obliged to have a behaviour policy and an anti-bullying policy in place (unless it’s a private school), which outlines how they prevent bullying and act against it. Anti-discrimination laws also mean schools must prevent any forms of discrimination, victimisation or harassment that takes place at the school. School staff can choose to deal with the bullying in different ways, often disciplinary action can include warnings, detentions, isolation, mediation, short term or permanent exclusion. 

It’s important to remember that your child’s school has a duty of care to pupils – failing to take proper action to bullying could be a breach of their duty. 

Reporting bullying to the police 

Whilst you should inform the school if your child is being bullied, you can also contact the police in certain circumstances. This is usually the case when the bully has attacked or stolen from the victim, and increasingly in cases of cyber bullying. It is always a good idea to keep evidence of the bullying, such as diary of incidents and screenshots. 

Seeking legal help 

Parents will sometimes ask about seeking legal action. Cases against schools because of bullying in schools are rare – the reasons for this being that the cases can be complex and actually very traumatic for the child involved.

Legal funding can be difficult to access for this type of case and the evidential preparation for the case can be hard to obtain and it could be grueling for the child involved. If the case progresses the court, aspects of your child’s school life would be placed under close scrutiny. 

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