Bullying a concern for parents as back to school draws near

  • 2

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Constant bullying has driven some children and teens into a deep depression, and some have even committed suicide. Others become bullies themselves.

ABC 7 sat down with a Bradenton mother whose daughter endured bullying at school, as well as a mental health counselor, to find out more.

"She got attacked at school ... She got scratched. They stole everything that she had." Zulamit Barroso's worst nightmare came true when her daughter came home and informed her she was being bullied at school. Her daughter Arianne is a special needs student who had to transfer to another school because of the constant mental and physical abuse. Arianne even took to punching the wall out of frustration. Barroso says even though faculty was told about the abuse, the bullying continued.

"Every time, she went to complain to a teacher or counselor. She was asked if she had any witnesses … when she said no, they said they could not do anything about it," she says

Clark West, a licensed mental health counselor at Affordable Mental Health Counseling Services of Sarasota says that to properly identify whether a kid is being bullied, parents and their children must have a good rapport with each other as well as great communication.

"Tell people. Open up — don't be ashamed," he says. "A lot of kids these days are really ashamed of telling an adult that someone is beating them up or threatening them. This is not primarily about you, this is about the abuser."

And it’s not just physical bullying and harassment that is a problem.

"Cyberbullying these days are just as bad as the physical contact," West says. "You know, what are your kids doing on Facebook?"

In Zulamit and her daughter Arianne’s case, Clark West has advice for them — others who are in the same situation.

"You need to get specific as you can about the situation. You know well if the kids say I’m being bullied...well what does that mean?" West asks. "Is someone threatening you? What is the situation?”