Home > Kids > Behavior and Discipline > Dealing With Bullies > Eleven-Year-Old Called Gay
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Eleven-Year-Old Called Gay

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: My eleven-year-old son is in sixth grade. He has seemed very lonely for some time now, and never wants to go outside and play. We had a talk today and he told me that "all the kids at school" make fun of him when he walks down the hall. They are calling him "gay." He was very upset and cried for some time. He is a gentle boy, very kindhearted, and some of his mannerisms could be interpreted as feminine. He is in the gifted program at school and makes good grades, so there are no problems there. I want to help him deal with the taunts, but I don't know how. Any advice?

A: My heart aches every time I hear such a story. What used to be unheard of in elementary school is now common practice -- taunting and bullying based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. Your son does not have to deal alone with these taunts. What he is enduring is sexual harassment and there are several things you can do for him and the many other students who are probably being harassed at the school.

I suggest you first contact the school counselor and advise him or her of what is going on. Have your son present. Discuss how the school proposes to handle the situation. Ask for a copy of the school's policy on sexual harassment. (The school has a legal obligation to have one.) The policy should outline the process for handling complaints. Follow whatever the process is.

I expect your son is too beaten down at the present time to do this, but his first legal step is to calmly tell the children who are teasing him to "Stop calling me . . . " Of course they will not. He should keep track of who the perpetrator is, when and where, and exactly what is said. Then the very next time it happens he should report to the counselor. The counselor or assistant principal in charge of discipline should handle it from there. In place of his telling the harasser to stop by himself, your son could tell him or her in front of the counselor. I have even read notes from the victim to the student who is doing the taunting. The school should then follow its discipline process, which should include filing harassment charges if nothing else works.

If the school doesn't do anything about this situation, I encourage you to file harassment charges yourself with the school resource officer or the local police. Take in as much detail as possible. Your son has a right to a safe and non-hostile educational environment and the school has the obligation to provide it. He's very lucky to have a mom who cares.

You may also want to check on what your son's school is doing in the way of anti-violence and anti-bullying programs.

More on: Expert Advice

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks