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When does high school drama become a bullying problem?

We all have our stories of high school drama. Some of us got off relatively easy and have only a story or two; others recall high school as some of the worst years of their lives.

Although some of this drama is natural and can help develop character, an escalation of drama can quickly morph into bullying.

When does a petty school skirmish rise to bullying? Generally, bullying is defined as repeated and intentional incidents where an aggressor has more power than the target. In this definition, the term power is often associated with social status as opposed to physical strength, but strength may also play a role.

Are there more incidents of bullying now than in the past? According to a recent piece in the Hechinger Report, bullying is more of a problem now than it once was.

The report focuses on a rural school's study finding that the number of high school girls reporting they feel respected had fallen from 44 percent to 31 percent from 2010 to 2015. Boys had a similar experience, with the rate falling from 59 percent to 44 percent. This fall in a feeling of respect is reported to be connected to increased instances of bullying.

What can I do if my child is the victim of harassment or bullying? In some cases, a student can take ownership in the situation and end the problem on his or her own. In others, the situation has escalated to the point when parental involvement is required.

If parental involvement still does not end the situation, it may be wise to seek legal counsel. An attorney can help negotiate with the school and parents of the other child as well as move forward with restraining orders or criminal charges if the problem continues.

Determining the right course of action depends on the details of the situation. As a result, if you believe that your child is the victim of bullying or harassment it is wise to contact an attorney to discuss your options.

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