What can I do if the school isn't responsive?

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, talks about what parents can do when the school isn't responsive after reporting your child's bullying
Bullying Advice for Parents | What can I do if the school isn't responsive to my report of bullying?
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What can I do if the school isn't responsive?

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I think many times when a parent is in a situation where they feel they have been proactive. They know that their child is being repeatedly bullied or cyberbullied. And they go to the school. They try to take the appropriate steps. But it feels like they're not getting the reaction that they want. The school seems to - maybe they're saying it's not that big a deal here, or we're going to handle it, but it continues to happen. As a parent, when you find out your child is being bullied and you have gone to the school, contacted them, let them know, but it still is happening, I think many times as a parent we don't know where to go. This situation not only affects the child, but it affects the entire family dynamic. So it can really have a ripple effect. What we want to make sure is you document every single time the situation has happened. Make sure you go to the school. You document when you went to the school and who you spoke with. Make sure you speak to the teachers and the principal and the counselors. If you still are not getting the answers you want, we have to understand in our state there are privacy laws that require schools to not give out any disciplinary information, anything they are doing with another student, the same as they would do with your student. So sometimes in situations they will say that they're handling it. And maybe they have handled it in a certain way, but on the other end, you don't know that they gave them in-school suspension or detention, and it feels like nothing is being done. But regardless, at the end of the day, if your child is still repeatedly going through this, I would make sure that in writing you have a meeting, that you go to the school - and our foundation has many resources of step by step, different letters that can go to the school - making sure that they ask for a plan to make sure that their child is safe while they're in that school. Not worrying about what the other kids are doing, but what can the school do to make sure my child is safe throughout the day. What are some safeguards that we're going to put in place? And make sure that that is done in writing. Make sure that you get that back and that something is being done with it. Again, if that becomes overwhelming, a lot of parents will switch their children out of school or do in-home schooling, which that is absolutely - they can do whatever they want to do. But we don't want to rip children out of schools and put them into other schools if each and every school that they go into, they're going to encounter that same group of kids. So we really want to work with children, build up their coping skills, work with them, but also make sure they're protected while they're at school.

Tina Meier, Executive Director of the Megan Meier Foundation, talks about what parents can do when the school isn't responsive after reporting your child's bullying

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Tina Meier

Executive Director

Tina Meier is an internationally recognized expert on bullying, cyberbullying, internet safety, conflict resolution, the roles of parents and educators, sexting, and suicide awareness and prevention.

On October 16, 2006, Tina Meier’s life took a devastating turn when her 13 year old daughter, Megan Taylor Meier, took her own life. All attempts were made to save Megan, but unfortunately Megan passed away on October 17, 2006, just weeks from her 14th birthday.

Approximately 5 weeks prior to her passing, a 16 year old boy by the name of Josh Evans, contacted Megan through her MySpace account and they began a friendship. Tina Meier, allowed Megan to have a MySpace account with many restrictions and under her watchful eye.  Unfortunately, on that fateful day of October 16, 2006, Josh Evans and Megan began to have an argument over MySpace.  A few others joined in and horrible and hurtful messages and bulletins went out publicly to hundreds of kids. The last words that were said to Megan from Josh were, “The world would be a better place without you” and “Have a shi**y rest of your life.”

Six weeks after Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier was informed that Josh Evans never existed. In fact, he was the fictitious creation of Lori Drew, an adult neighbor that lived down the street, her 13-year-old daughter Sarah, which was Megan’s former friend, and an 18-year-old employee that worked out of Lori Drew’s home.

In December of 2007, Tina Meier, founded the 501 (c)(3) non-profit Megan Meier Foundation.  The Foundation’s mission is to “create awareness, education and promote positive change to children, parents and educators in response to the ongoing bullying and cyberbullying in our children’s daily environment.” Tina’s hope is to make a difference through spreading Megan’s story, create awarness regarding internet safety, and educate others on the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. She hopes to help one child at a time cope with these negative social issues. Ultimately, her goal is to empower children to be the change and continue the Foundation’s mission.

At the time of this tragedy, the State of Missouri did not have laws in place to prosecute someone using electronic communications to cyberbully another person. Tina worked closely with Senator Scott Rupp and Governor Matt Blunt’s Internet Task Force for the State of Missouri to help pass Senate Bill 818, which went into law on August 28, 2008. This law amended the harassment and stalking laws to include electronic communication.

Each year, Tina travels throughout the country as a keynote speaker addressing the issue of bullying and cyberbullying in today’s world to students, educators, administrators, parents, youth rallies, counselors, law enforcement, and other professionals. Through Tina’s inspirational and educational message, the audience is empowered to make a difference not only for themselves, but others also.

Tina has continued to spread the Foundation’s message and Megan’s story through national and international media appearances such as network television stations, radio, news shows, magazines and syndicated talk shows. She also accepted a Presidential invitation to attend the 2011 White House Anti-Bullying Conference, presented at the U.S. Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools National Conference in Washington, DC, and served as a consultant during the production of the ABC Family movie, Cyberbully.

Tina Meier resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with her daughter Allison. 

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