Our Bullying Prevention module stresses the importance of following up with all parties involved in a bullying situation. Follow-up helps us to ensure that the bullying has in fact stopped and that the student who was targeted remains safe. At the same time, it sends a message to all involved that bullying will be taken seriously and will not be tolerated. (See Problem-solving.)
Ideally, including parents and caregivers in our follow-up serves several purposes. We share information and perspectives, increasing the likelihood that the adults (school staff and families) will find out whether or not the bullying has really stopped. We enable parents and caregivers to work with us in partnership, reinforcing the messages we have attempted to convey, as well as the impact of any natural consequences we have set up for the student(s) who supported or engaged in bullying behaviour.
Decisions about whether and how much to follow-up with parents and caregivers on an ongoing basis can vary depending upon the kind of relationship that exists, the wishes of the student and the student’s age level. High school aged students are likely to be quite reluctant for their parents or caregivers to be continuously involved. Within the limits of the law and our school’s policy, it is important to respect their wishes and their developmental level.
It is important for teachers, administrators and other school staff to consult as a team – with input and guidance from the student who is bullied – if the bullying continues. A team approach can facilitate the development and implementation of a whole school strategy to stop the bullying.