Bullying is a huge problem in many schools today, and this can be amplified for special education students. While bullying may be based on numerous factors, such as emotional, physical or social differences, the results are often the same. These students often hide physically or emotionally, resulting in poor social skills, low grades and high levels of truancy. Sometimes, this can even follow them into their adult lives where they may suffer from poor relationships and depression. Although research shows that around half of special education students suffer from bullying, you can do your part to ensure that your child or student is not a part of this by following these five tips.
Integrated classrooms should be treated with great care. All students should be treated equally. Otherwise, peers may begin talking down to special education students just as teachers do. Regular class meetings can help all students get their problems addressed quickly.
Tolerance can prevent bullying from happening. Children should be taught that differences only make them unique not better than or worse than someone else.
Parents or teachers who are unsure about what constitutes bullying can check the school’s code of conduct, which should discuss language, rumors, slurs, stereotypes and other words and actions that could be construed as bullying.
Parents and teachers who see bullying happening should immediately speak up. All students should also be taught to advocate for themselves and others.
When bullying does happen, it can be a great opportunity for teaching. Teachers can require students to create a project that focuses on this topic. They may even want to invite special groups to come talk to classes.