We often think of bullying as a peer-against-peer offense, but many times it can happen between two different age groups or levels of authority. One such example of this is when teachers bully students.

It may be hard to believe, but the people you trust to educate and protect your children during the school day may not be the guardian you thought them to be. But what exactly constitutes teacher bullying?


More than a “mean” teacher

Sure, most children believe a teacher has it out for them at one time or another. They may feel that a bad grade or a public scolding was mean or unjustified when truthfully, the teacher was simply doing his or her job.

When a situation becomes more than a case of a mean teacher is if they

  • go above and beyond what was necessary to punish a student
  • systematically pick on or harass one or more students
  • downgrade a student’s work for malicious purpose
  • physically harm a student


Detention time

If your child complains about their teacher (who doesn’t?) how can you tell if the child is misreading a situation or truly the target of a bully teacher? The best solution is to have continuing and open discussions.

Talk with your child about their experiences at school and about their teachers. If they complain that a teacher doesn’t like them or is mean, be sure to ask them more about it to get an understanding of the situation.

If you hear about a situation that concerns you, have a sit down meeting with the teacher but DO NOT make it confrontational. Nothing like alienating your child’s teacher if they have done nothing wrong or put them on the defensive.

The goal of talking to the teacher should be to come to a mutual understanding so the situation does not happen again. If this does not work it is time to take your concerns higher.

Meet with the principal or even the school board if necessary, but be sure that if there truly is an issue with a teacher bullying students that others are made aware of the problem.


Lesson over

Lastly reassure your child that if they are the victim of a bullying teacher that it is not their fault. They can change classes so they will not have to sit through abuse at the hands of their teacher.

When teachers bully students, it can be a daunting issue to address.

What if bringing it to the teachers attention only makes your child’s situation worse? What if no one believes you and your child? Will their grades suffer as a result?

If there truly is a problem teacher, chances are that other parents have noticed the same thing. If the school is getting numerous complaints, it adds legitimacy to the claims and should push the school board to investigate further.

At the end of the day, it is important that all students have a bully free environment. Even when the bully is the teacher.