Mask Wars: Bullying on the Rise Over School Masking Policies. Know How to Protect Your Children
School is back in session, and the mask wars have begun.
As American students pack up their backpacks and head back to class, some are bringing masks and others are not. To mask or not to mask? The question has sparked a polarizing controversy in schools.
While many parents are opposed to their children wearing masks in class, other parents and educators are adamant that mask-wearing is crucial for everyone’s protection.
While many schools opt to require students to wear masks in class, multiple states, including Florida, Arizona, Texas and Iowa, have passed laws that ban state-funded schools, colleges and universities from doing so.
What to do to protect and educate your children on mask bullying.
So now what? Parents on both sides of the coin feel their children are being bullied for their personal masking preference.
Regardless of what side you’re on, here’s what you need to do to protect your kids from bullying as well as tips to educate them on how to prevent bullying of other students:
- Lead by example. As a parent, you want to protect your kids as much as possible, but it’s also important for you to teach them to respect other people’s decisions on this serious issue. Limiting your vocalization on your opinion on the controversy and anything negative about other parents and their decision can help prevent your child from disrespecting other kids in class.
- Have a talk with your children. Help them understand that people have experienced COVID-19 differently and emphasize that they don’t know what is going on in someone else’s home. Their decision to wear a mask or not wear a mask is their choice and you don’t have control over them, just like they don’t have control over you. If your kids are being criticized for their decision, talk to them about standing up for themselves in a respectful way.
- Talk to your child’s school and teachers. If you feel your child is being bullied, teachers are your first line of defense. Make sure you keep the dialogue open so they can understand what’s happening and prevent it from occurring in class.
- Encourage them to talk to their teacher or trusted adult. Help your child feel comfortable and confident to report any incidents to their teacher or other adult.
- Educate them on COVID-19 from all sides of the issue without bias. Just as you watch both political angles on an issue to become educated, help your kids understand that everyone is simply doing what they think is best for their family and loved ones, and it’s important to understand and respect both sides.
What are your rights when it comes to mask bullying?
While there are differing laws and policies regarding bullying from state to state, every school should have an anti-bullying policy that is typically posted on the school’s website. If your child is being bullied at school, officially report it to the school and gain understanding of their policy.
Some of the provisions in the school’s policy should include:
- A statement prohibiting bullying.
- A definition of terms.
- The procedure for reporting bullying incidents.
- The procedure for investigating bullying incidents.
- A list of responses and options available if there has been a violation of the school’s policy.
If bullying persists and you need to escalate the issue, the best option is to speak to a lawyer.
Consult a lawyer to explore your legal options to stop bullying.
Bullying is a serious concern in America, and unfortunately the pandemic has only heightened the issue. If your child is being bullied for their decision to wear or not wear a mask, a LegalShield provider lawyer can help navigate what legal rights you have available to fight it.
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