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Bullying

A boy and a girl teasing another girl.Bullying doesn’t just happen to the smallest kid in the class. Bullies target those who seem to be less powerful or not as strong. Bullies also often target children who seem "different". Children with TS and other disabilities are, therefore, at significantly higher risk of being bullied. It is important to understand the effects of bullying, a child’s legal right not to be bullied, and where to find additional resources.

Bullying can be physical, involving hitting or attacking another person. Bullying also can come in the form of verbal or electronic aggression (using the internet or cell phones, for example), including name calling; verbal threats; and threatening, embarrassing, or insulting emails or texts. A bully also might use psychological aggression, including spreading rumors or excluding a person from activities or conversations. Bullying, teasing, and harassment should not be considered normal rites of passage or just "kids being kids".

Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to:

  • Be depressed, lonely, anxious;
  • Have low self-esteem;
  • Experience headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and poor eating;
  • Be absent from school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance; and
  • Think about suicide or try to commit suicide.

Legal Rights

Parents and their children have the right not to be harassed by peers, school personnel, or other adults. TS is recognized as a disability in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).1,2 Disability harassment is discrimination that violates section 504 and its regulations. Under Section 504 and Title II,disability harassment in schools is defined as, "intimidation or abusive behavior toward a student based on disability that creates a hostile environment by interfering with or denying a student’s participation in or receipt of benefits, services, or opportunities in the institution’s program. Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling, as well as nonverbal behavior, such as graphic and written statements, or conduct that is physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating."

Find more information about disability harassment from the U.S. Department of Education »

For More Information

References

  1. Tourette Syndrome Association [Internet]. Bayside: Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. 2007-2010 [cited 2010 July 13]. IDEA Reauthorization 2004: Summary of changes affecting students with Tourette Syndrome. Available from: http://www.tsa-usa.org/aeduc_advoc/IDEA_1204_RE_AUTH.htm
  2. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities [Internet]. Washington, DC: NICHCY; [Cited 2010 July 13]. Tourette Syndrome. Available from: http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/ohi-tourette

 

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