How to find help before going back to school this year.

It's time to start thinking about the new school year and the kids that are going to have to deal with their tormentors again. Let's try to make bullying a thing of the past for as many kids as possible. Too many kids are still living in fear of bullies, too many parents don't know where to turn, and too many schools still don't respond effectively to bullies in their student population. By working together, change can happen. It just takes one person to start the process, whether a parent, a student, or an educator. Be that person!

If you are a student, consider starting an anti-bullying group at your school, or just be the one that makes the choice to talk to someone that seems to need a friend. If you are a parent, and your child has had problems with bullies at their school in the past, this year can be better. All it takes are the right tools and knowledge. If you are an educator, take the initiative and get your school involved, raise awareness, take a stand!
This year...
Any Is Too Many!

Students What you can do:  If you are being assaulted, harassed or mistreated, TELL A TRUSTED ADULT! There is help available. If someone is harassing you on-line, remember: Drop them, Block them, and Report them! Keep copies and screen shots of all the offensive texts, pics and posts to document the abuse. If you witness bullying, speak out! Don't be a bystander, work with your friends to make a statement and be heard. Talk to your parents. Approach your teachers about starting an anti-bullying group on campus. Bullies don't thrive where hope is alive!

Tools: There are many resources available to help you. You can use reporting apps to let adults you trust know what's going on. Make sure your social media accounts' privacy settings are all set to maximum privacy, and consider deleting your account on any site that doesn't have effective privacy policies and tools. Don't accept strangers on contact lists, never send private info or photos to strangers. NEVER SEXT!, even to friends! Sending intimate photos to others might seem like fun, but those photos will never go away! If you need help removing abusive or embarrassing content, it's available here for Canada, and here for everyone.
  If you are feeling depressed, or need to talk, there are plenty of people that want to help. In Australia, try Headspace. In the US, you can go to Umatter. In Canada, we have Kids Help Phone. Teens in the UK have two choices! There's HOPELine for older teens and ChildLine if you're a little younger. Anywhere, any time, you can talk a professional counselors, you can even chat anonymously if you prefer. You can get more information about dealing with your feelings from many other sources. Don't stay silent!  

Parents What you can do: If your child is subject to physical assaults, call your local police immediately! Working with the school is always the best choice, where possible. Depending on the school, the staff and principal can be your best asset, or your biggest problem. Find out exactly what the laws are, and learn them; knowledge is a powerful tool. If your school isn't prepared to help, you can try using a Notice of Harassment to get action, they are available for many countries. Network with other parents, find allies to work with. Approach your local school board and make sure they are willing to enforce any policies and laws. The same goes for local politicians. Use today's media momentum and public awareness to your advantage.
 Parents of Special Needs students have specific challenges and needs when it comes to their children's safety, and dealing with bullies. The Bully Project produces a free SN bullying tool kit available here. Make sure to check their Additional Resources page for more helpful links.
 If your child is subjected to cyber-bullying, keep screen shots, emails, photos and text messages for evidence. Teens live in a cyber world, you need to understand it and its central role in their lives. Talk, ask, be there for your kids. Communication with your child is the single most important tool to stop bullying before it becomes a serious threat. 

Tools: If you need help learning how to deal with school bullies, there are many sources of excellent information. If you are worried (or know) that your child is a bully, there are also many resources available to help you. Some good sites to start with are parenting advice experts Annie Fox and Dr. Michele Borba. For cyber-bullying issues, there is Connect Safely, The Cyberbullying Research Center, Cybersmart and many others. If you need help with safety settings on Apple products, try iOS: Understanding Restrictions. For general advice and and tips for dealing with bullying, try CyberBullying Help, Net Nanny, Myths and misconceptions about school bullying, or What Parents Can Do. Dealing with adolescent issues can be overwhelming, but there is a lot of good advice out there. Practical Katie is a very useful blog, good advice can also be found at P.U.R.E. Parents Universal Resource Experts, and the Center For Suicide Prevention has published an excellent downloadable guide,, and The Balanced Mind are all good sources of practical advice, as well. For more parenting resources check our Parent's resource page here.

Let's all try to make this the year that
bullying becomes a thing of the past!