WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Two families are scheduled to be in the Williamburg/James City County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Friday, April 15 in connection with an apparent bullying incident.
News 3 spoke with mothers of both parties involved. Because it involves an ongoing investigation and minors, no names or specifics of the case will be revealed; however, it started a discussion about what rights parents have if their child is being bullied.
According to Joe Wright, a supervisor of the court service unit in Williamsburg, Virginia, a statute allows any individual to petition the court for a protective order, including ones involving children. He added that the court would determine with each individual case whether it is warranted, what the stipulations would be and the length of the protective order.
Shant’a Miller White is the founder of Parents Against Bullying Virginia. Her daughter was 11 when Miller White says she was brutally attacked on a school bus.
“We almost lost my daughter several times,” Miller White said. “They said if it would have been three inches to the left, she could have died instantly on the bus.”
She added that her daughter has epilepsy and after the attack, her seizures became much more frequent. Shortly after the attack, Miller White said she decided to move her daughter to another school.
She published a book called “Let’s P.U.S.H.: A Guide to Combat Bullying.”
Various resources in the book can help parents. She said she even has a section that covers the possibility of a protective order, which she sought through the court.
“I wanted to make sure they were safe or I could put something in place in writing,” she explained.
Having open conversations, becoming tech-savvy to check social media accounts and setting an example are some of the tips she gives to parents.
“Make sure they’re comfortable enough to come to you when things are happening," Miller White said. "Ask them about their day, being a filter. You know, we need to start having those chats like we used to do sitting at the dinner table at dinner time and being able to talk to our kids.”
Miller White says don’t forget about the child doing the bullying. They also need attention.
“They’re screaming out for help as well. 57% of the time, if a bystander interferes or if a person stands up to the bully, then they stop,” she said.
“We want to make sure as Parents Against Bullying Virginia that we find out what’s going on, and see if we can’t connect them to something and someone if we can’t help them ourselves,” added Miller White.