Q:

How should parents and their children handle threats and dangerous behavior by their children's peers? - Danger

A:

You definitely need to talk with your children about reporting threats and dangerous behavior by their peers, according to the National Association of Elementary School Principals. While children hate to be tattletales, there have been too many violent incidents at schools that could have been prevented had students told adults ahead of time.

You want to stress to your children that they need to play a role in keeping their own schools safe by reporting any dangerous, disturbing or destructive behavior or threats they hear or observe. It is important that they take very seriously anything that they hear being said that could cause serious harm to anyone. That includes reporting children who bully other children. Often, the children who are being bullied end up trying to get back at the bully in a violent way just so the harassment will stop. No child should be victimized in school. Also, point out that it is very serious if inappropriate things are said over the Internet.

Point out to your children that they don't need to talk to a teacher or the principal but can talk to you or any adult working in the school. If they feel uncomfortable talking about a potentially threatening situation, they can write a note instead. They don't even need to sign it; however, it would be better if they did.

Your children should know that the principal of their school is their friend and will always listen to them. They also need to know that they can talk freely to you, and you will listen carefully to what they are saying and help them through difficult situations. And remember that you have the responsibility to contact the principal or police if you learn of any potentially dangerous situations.