Follow these steps to address parents’ heightened concerns about bullying

The increasing severity of bullying incidents and disability harassment in recent years has heightened parents’ concerns around this issue. This has prompted more requests for services to keep children safe, sources say, such as increased supervision or changes in placement.

However, there may be steps that IEP teams can take before an issue escalates and prompts a parent to make such a request.

“You don’t want a parent coming to you and saying, ‘My kid has felt bullied for the past year,’” says Julie Fay, a school attorney with Shipman & Goodwin LLP in Hartford, Conn. “When parents let concerns simmer for a long time, they are ready for a dramatic solution.” 

Also, Fay says, schools should help children engage in positive interactions with their peers. “So even if something  happened that doesn’t equate to bullying, the IEP team can still meet to discuss the difficulties a student is having with his peers,” she says.

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