Growing up is never easy, and attending school has its ups and downs for most students. Whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, some of the biggest influences in their lives undoubtedly comes from friends, the education they receive, teachers and the schooling institution itself.
Whilst most teachers are talented and dedicated individuals, on occasion, there can be instances where students and teachers can disagree on certain issues, which may cause conflict during schooltime.
There can also be some unfortunate instances where teachers abuse their position of authority, resulting in cases where a few individuals repeatedly pick on or bully students.
If your child confides in you that they were previously, or are currently being picked on by a teacher or other school staff member, it is important to treat their claim with complete seriousness. Regardless of whether you believe the incident occurred or not, it is necessary to gather all the vital facts and evidence (where possible) before approaching the school.
Teacher and Pupil Bullying – Questions to Ask as a Parent
This can include questioning your child further about specifics relating to the incident(s). Be sure to respect their emotions and mental state when asking personal questions. It takes courage for a child to approach an adult for help, and interrogation may result in further upsetting or causing trauma. You may want to ask:
- Who the teacher (or staff member) in question is.
- How long have they felt this way about the teacher?
- Has there been more than one instance of the child being bullied by a teacher?
- What exactly happened?
- Were there other students around when the incident(s) occurred?
- Are there other instances where the teacher in question has acted this way towards other students?
You may have to also consider the reliability of the witnesses. Although it is incredibly important to listen to your child’s concerns, you have to consider the teacher’s position and the situation they may have been in when the incident occurred. Another important factor is whether there have been any issues of negative behaviour from your child in that particular class, or any other classes.
Although trust is incredibly important between a parent and child, it may also be worth questioning whether your child’s complaints were made due to a tumultuous pre-existing relationship.
Ways School Staff Can Pick on a Student
A teacher may pick on a child in a number of ways, emotionally, mentally or even physically. Some examples include:
- Using inappropriate language towards a student, including swearing, using homophobic, transphobic or racial slurs and sexist remarks.
- Shunning or ignoring.
- Humiliating or berating the child.
- Physical violence, including throwing objects.
- Using obscenities targeted towards the child, so that they are the only ones able to hear it.
- Sexual advances or physical contact of any type.
My Child is Being Bullied at School by a Teacher – What Should I Do?
Although it may seem intimidating to approach your child’s school about a case of potential bullying towards your child, there are several steps you can take to ensure that a just conclusion is reached for your loved one.
If the above methods fail or are irrelevant to your case, you may want to consider taking alternative actions, such as contacting your local council, Information Commissioner’s Office, Equality Advisory and Support Service, Ofqual or even the local police, in cases of criminal behaviour.
If you would like to seek legal advice on how to deal with a teacher picking on your child, please contact Whitehead Monckton education law solicitors today.