Protect yourself with these simple steps
For a lot of LGBTQ kids, those perceived to be LGBTQ and the friends of LGBTQ kids, bullying is a serious reality. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be stopped.
It’s a fact: You have a legal right to be who you are and to be safe. If you or any of your friends are bullied here’s a quick list of things to do:
Talk to someone you can trust: friends, parents, a brother or sister. Let people know.
Have a safety plan. Find a new way to walk home from school. Arrange for a ride home. And make sure you have a cell phone or money to make an emergency phone call.
Write down what’s happening to you: Include details about what exactly happened, who was involved, where and when the incident took place and if there were any witnesses.
Take it to the principal: Counselors and teachers aren’t always legally required to take action against bullying. But the principal has more responsibility. Put your reports and complaints in writing, and keep copies of every document you send and receive.
Go to the next level. If your school principal doesn’t respond fast enough take your complaint to the superintendent or school board.
See if your school has complaint procedures. Many public schools receive federal funds. If yours is one of them they’re required by federal law to have complaint procedures.
Tell the police. Serious threats and physical assault are AGAINST THE LAW. If these happen, don’t hesitate to file a report with the police.
Make an anonymous report. If you feel like you can’t safely identify yourself, send an anonymous report to the principal. It could identify particular harassers at your school or describe your school’s harassment problem more generally. Or ask a trusted adult, like a counselor, to tell the principal without using your name that bullying is a problem at school. Many schools have procedures for anonymous reporting. Always keep copies of your reports or reports filed on your behalf. But bear in mind that the school is more likely to have a legal obligation to protect you if administrators know you have been mistreated.
Report bullying even if you don’t know who the bullies are. It’s important that your principal know that bullying is taking place, even if you’re unable to identify the harassers. As always, report incidents in writing, and keep a copy of the report for yourself. Speak up if the help isn’t actually helpful.
Don’t give up if your school’s attempts to stop bullying don’t work. Talk to the principal and other adults at school about other ways they can respond
Contact Lambda Legal if your school does not respond in a helpful way (866-542-8336 or use our online email form at www.lambdalegal.com/help.) Click here to learn more about the ways that Lambda Legal has helped students targeted for bullying.