Ashley Smith said her two sons have been bullied for the past three years at school and while working to end bullying for her boys, she’s hoping sharing their story will promote change.
It’s just a matter of something’s gotta be done,” Smith said. “A stricter policy in place, better training for the schools on how to identify bullying and how to handle the situation.”
Jackie Scarborough is the director of mental health at Bost, Inc. and said bullying is increasing all around, especially on social media.
Scarborough suggests parents take a closer look at their child and address any changes they see.
“Notice and look for changes in your child’s demeanor; how they come across,” Scarborough said. “Are they reluctant to go to school all of a sudden? Are they exhibiting some depression? Keep an eye on your child.”
Both women said mediation is key when it comes to finding a solution, but talking with both parties is crucial to making sure the bullying doesn’t continue.
“We need to focus on those kids and adolescents that are being bullied, but we need to work with the bullies,” Scarborough said. “It’s a two way street here, so we also need to work with educating and helping to hopefully turn around the behavior of those who feel like they need to bully other kids.”
While Smith is working to end bullying for her son, she hopes her family’s experience will inspire not just the families who are affected, but the schools, too.
“Stay with it,” Smith said. “If one teacher tells you to not worry about it, go to another one. Go to another one until you get something because you should not be fearful for going to school.”
Scarborough recommends that even after bullying stops, parents should continue to keep a line of communication open because bullying can happen again.
If your child or someone you know needs help to deter bullying, you can contact those in the mental health department at Bost, Inc. at 479-478-5600.