SHELBY CO., Tenn. — Most of the FOX13 viewing area is already off to a brand-new start with the 2019-2020 school year, so we went to a local education advocate for tips on how to make this a bully-free year for your child.
The beginning of a new school year is both exciting and nerve-wracking for parents and students.
Leshundra Robinson, the founder of mentoring program UCAN Memphis, said putting an end to bullying begins at home: maybe at a place as simple as the kitchen table.
She suggested open-ended questions.
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“Don’t do the simple, ‘Tell me about your day.’ But ask those questions that’s going to be the open-ended questions. ‘What exactly did you do today?’” she said. “Make sure parents understand it actually does start with you. It starts at home. So, students are actually mimicking what they see at the house and taking it to school.”
Robinson said parents can also help their students by going to parent-teacher conferences and putting names with faces in their kids’ schools. She said whether your child is doing well or poorly, parents should be involved with the conferences.
Another tip for a bully-free year is staying on top of children and their social media activity.
Robinson said outside school, social media has become a major part of kids’ lives – one that parents need to be a part of.
“Watch what they’re posting. Watch their social media. A lot of times, parents say, ‘I don’t want to invade my child’s privacy.’ Well, you know, there is no privacy,” Robinson said. “On social media, everyone sees it, and you want to protect your own child.”
Robinson urges parents to encourage their kids to join extracurricular activities. She said whether it’s theatre, art, or sports, that in-person connection with others will impact kids both in and out of the classroom.
If you follow these tips and still find your child struggling with bullying, it’s time to get involved yourself.
“Document every single thing that happens. Even when your child comes home and tells you something happened, document it,” she said. “That way you can have everything you need, so if it happens to go to the Board of Education, you can say, ‘I’ve done XYZ. I’ve done all the preventative maintenance I was supposed to do.
“’Now it’s your turn. What are you going to do to make sure my child is safe?’”
Parents should be aware that the Shelby County Board of Education has adopted the “Safe School Tips” program which allows parents, students or teachers to report bullying.
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