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That was a red flag, Miland said.
“I was very grateful for the help I received because at that point, I didn’t know want to do,” she said of PACER, which she later joined as a parent advocate.
She then requested a meeting with school leaders to determine ways to keep her daughter safe.
“Fortunately, the school responded in a very positive way,” she said.
School leaders and Miland made sure Kelly wasn’t alone and established positive relationships with peers and school staff she could go to and trust if she felt unsafe. They also looked out for her.
To help Kelly adjust to returning to school, Miland gave her a note card with something positive written on it every day. The card also included names of people she could talk to in times of need.
Years have passed since the incident, but Kelly still remembers what she wore the day it happened.
When there’s an upsetting and unhappy memory, the more a child’s life is filled with rewarding social experiences, the less central the painful memory becomes by comparison, Troy said.
“It’s something that’s etched in her mind always,” Miland said. “It’s something she won’t forget, but it’s something she has overcome.”
Miland’s advice for other parents:
Check out Children’s newly released report on bullying, which includes a guide for parents. For more tips on bullying prevention, visit PACER.org/bullying.