TIP 2: TELL A TRUSTED ADULT. AN ADVOCATE'S PERSPECTIVE
DR. ELIZA BYARD: Any adult in a school environment can be that ally, be the person who is the place they turn to try to set the wheels in motion and improve the situation.
JULIE HERTZOG: I think it's important from early on to just start having this conversation with your child about, if they feel they've been hurt or harmed in some way, to have that dialogue with you as a parent from a very young age so that you're opening that door.
AKIL PATTERSON: There's no magic formula. That's the strange part. It's somebody that you're comfortable with, talking to, but at the same time you know that they're going to watch out for you.
JULIE HERTZOG: "Trusted adult." That's kind of a term that maybe we use as adults too. And kids need to know that a "trusted adult" can mean a sibling. It can mean somebody who's not even their teacher. It's somebody who they gravitate toward. Or who they feel listens to them. It's about, who do you feel comfortable talking to? Who do you feel that listens to you? Who do you feel understands you? And really, that's what we're looking for then we say "trusted adult."
DR. ELIZA BYARD: I work with a lot of principals, school administrators, superintendents. One of the things that school leaders say often is that they don't have the information they need to solve the problem. And to really fix the whole school and the school environment. A lot of times people will defer to, "Well, kids will work it out themselves." Or "My classroom's safe," a teacher might think, "so I've done my job." The fact is, the whole school has to respond when the bullying dynamic among students is becoming an issue. In order for that to happen, students need to be communicating with the adults who are responsible for their well being. And adults need to be communicating to each other so that the whole school can monitor a situation and respond at all times.