Bullying and School Climate
Children who are bullied experience real suffering that can interfere with their social and emotional development, as well as their school performance. If you believe your child is being bullied, you need to speak to your child’s teacher or counselor immediately and informally. Often, such a conversation will be enough to make the situation better for your child. If this does not work, then report this again in writing to the teacher or counselor, especially if you have never done so before. If you do not get the help or attention that you believe you need, you should then report it in writing to the school principal.
You can get more information about bullying, both prevention and action steps to take, by clicking on the links provided here, Bullying Resource Center and stopbullying.gov. In Connecticut, the State Department of Education has information related to bullying on their website.
School Violence and Safety
One of the primary concerns of parents and caregivers with children in school is that children are safe and secure in the school environment. In general, schools are the safest place for children to spend their day, as violence among youth peaks during the after-school hours. Despite these facts, there are growing concerns about violence in schools. If you are worried about the safety of your child, you should contact your child’s teacher, administrator, or speak with the school security or resource officers. For immediate concerns regarding specific threats or imminent danger, you may need to call your local police department.
For more information about safe schools please visit the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention website.
Students At Risk for Suspension, Expulsion, In-School Arrests
Although juvenile arrests have declined over the last 5 to 10 years, there remain high rates of inappropriate in-school arrests, as well as expulsions and out of school suspensions, particularly among students with mental health needs and students from minority racial and ethnic backgrounds.
In order to meet the needs of students who are at risk of arrest or expulsion, many middle and high schools require linkages to a range of community-based mental health services and supports, particularly rapid response and support for managing crisis mental health needs.
One initiative that is working with schools to address some of these concerns is called, The Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative. Resources to manage mental health needs within schools often are limited. Although some districts have in-school health clinics that allow them to directly address students’ mental health needs, other schools can meet these needs by accessing an existing continuum of mental health services and supports. Through training, consultation, and support, SBDI coordinators increase the awareness of school staff about community resources and help to link them to existing services and supports to meet the needs of students and their families.