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School Violence Prevention Act: Coming to Your School

Chances are good that your child with autism has been bullied at one time or another while in school.   Thanks to the new state law, SB526, the schools’ reaction to these situations may be changing.  A friend of mine recently experienced this change firsthand.  Her teenage son came home one day, describing an incident that occurred in class, in which classmates had teased him about his deep and focused interest in basketball.  The teacher apparently did not understand that this student was not able to deflect or understand what was happening, and did not help him.  The parents scheduled a meeting with the teacher, to explain his disability and to clarify that he needed assistance with these types of situations.  When the teacher asked what the meeting was about, the parents emailed the topic to be discussed—bullying.  That one word changed the meeting from one in which the parents were going to request help to one in which the school administration actively became involved.  To the pleasant surprise of the parents, the meeting involved the principal, the guidance counselor, the school social worker and the teacher.  A plan to actively prevent future occurrences was agreed upon, and consequences for the perpetrators were discussed.  So far, the plan is working and the student has not been bullied in that class again.  That’s what I call success!

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