Protecting Your Children from Bullying During Remote Learning
The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote learning a common situation for students in Phoenix. Although the state of Arizona did not mandate closure of in-person learning but left it up to school districts and local health departments, many children spent a good portion of the last school year learning from a distance. While children are studying remotely from home, they are not subject to in-person bullying, but they can still become victims of cyberbullying.
What Is Bullying in the School System?
Bullying involves repeated negative acts, carried out over time, with an actual or perceived imbalance of power. At least 15% of students in schools are involved in bullying, as reported by Laws for Kids. Approximately 9% of the students are victims, while 7% bully others repeatedly. More younger students and more boys than girls become victims of bullies. The three basic types of bullying in Phoenix schools are:
- Physical — hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, or choking
- Verbal — threats, taunting, teasing, hate speeches, or starting rumors
- Psychological – intimidation, spreading rumors, or social exclusion
What Are the State Laws on Bullying in Schools?
Arizona has enacted a law that requires schools to establish policies on bullying, intimidation, and harassment, at A.R.S. Section 15-341. Each school in the state school system is required to have a procedure in place for students, teachers, and parents to confidentially report bullying to a school official. A report should trigger an investigation, disciplinary action, and prevention of further bullying. More severe penalties may be imposed through the criminal justice system if bullying involves threatening or actually causing injury to a person or property.
What Is Involved in Cyberbullying During Remote Learning?
A child who is engaged in remote learning and spending more time online is more susceptible to cyberbullying. The definition of cyberbullying is intimidation and harassment that occurs online through digital devices. It may involve sharing someone’s private information online or sending, posting, or sharing embarrassing, humiliating, or harmful comments. Cyberbullying most commonly occurs on social media platforms, but it may also involve text messages or emails.
How Can You Help Protect Your Child From in-Person or Cyberbullying?
Parents, as well as teachers, should respond to any reports of cyberbullying and make it known that it will not be tolerated. When children have been victims of in-person or cyberbullying:
- Let them know it is not their fault – it is the bully who has a problem.
- Ask questions to learn more about the situation – how it started, who was involved, and what was said.
- Document what occurred. Take screenshots of any harmful content, including photos, social media posts, and text messages.
- Report the situation to school administration and local law enforcement, if appropriate.
- Be there as someone the child can talk to about the situation, who will listen without judgment.
How Can You Promote Family Internet Safety?
Consider following your child or a friend on social media. Teach your child about privacy and the types of content or information that should never be shared. Help your child practice blocking and reporting cyberbullying or any uncomfortable online scenario. Take advantage of privacy settings and parental control apps. Develop a family internet usage plan with specific limits on duration, content, and location.
The Husband and Wife Law Team is here to help if your child has been bullied in school and you believe the school has been negligent in stopping or preventing the bullying. At Breyer Law Offices, P.C., we are dedicated to helping people who have a personal injury. Call us at (602) 267-1280 to schedule a free consultation. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyer can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.
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During a free consultation, we will look at the important aspects of your case, answer your questions, and explain your legal rights and options clearly. All submissions are confidentially reviewed by Mark Breyer.
Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer