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Continued: Being bullied: One family's story

  • Article by: BRADY GERVAIS
  • Last update: October 2, 2013 - 2:27 PM

That was a red flag, Miland said.

Miland turned to the PACER Center for help. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit had recently launched its National Bullying Prevention Center (PACER.org/bullying), which offers a variety of web-based resources for parents, students, and educators to deal with bullying situations.

“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:

  • If you notice a change in behavior, talk to your child. Kelly stopped wanting to go to school and wouldn’t say why she became isolated. That was a red flag.
  • Talk to your child about what bullying is and, if it’s happening to them, give them strategies so they can talk to parents, teachers and other adults.
  • Parents should report bullying to the proper authorities and put it in writing so there’s an investigation and follow-up. The report should include the name of the bully, when and where the incident occurred and any bystanders who may have been present. If cyber bullying occurred, include the information in the report.
  • Work with the proper authorities so there’s a plan for the child to feel safe. 

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.

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