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How to spot signs of school bullying in children

Under US law, bullying is a repeated, aggressive behavior directed towards a specific person. These can be physical, verbal, social or emotional. At least one in every five students reported being bullied during the 2021-2022 school year.

If these incidents remain unaddressed, bullied children may feel isolated, depressed and even take away their lives. It is crucial for parents to recognize signs of bullying and how to help your child.

Warning signs to watch out for

Children who face such conditions may not always directly tell you what is happening at school, even online. There are, however, signs you can look for:

  • Physical changes: Unexplained injuries like bruises, cuts, or scrapes or damaged clothing or belongings.
  • Changes in behavior: Loss of interest in school, declining grades, difficulty sleeping or changes in eating habits.
  • Emotional changes: Feeling withdrawn, anxious, depressed or having frequent headaches or stomachaches.
  • Social changes: Avoiding social situations, having trouble making friends, or becoming isolated.
  • Changes in communication: Not wanting to talk about school or appearing secretive about their day.

Your child’s safety and emotional well-being are the top priorities. If you suspect bullying, create a safe space where your child can talk about anything. Once they open up, validate their feelings and do not judge. Ultimately, be there for them during this difficult period.

There are legal remedies for school bullying

If the bullying continues despite your efforts, consider exploring legal options. You can file a complaint with the school district or seek legal counsel in cases of severe physical injury.

While most states have anti-bullying legislation, these laws typically address the school’s response and prevention efforts. So, it is highly advisable to consult with an attorney who understands the specific legal options for your case.