DEAR HARRIETTE: My 16-year-old daughter has been going to school with the same kids since kindergarten, but has recently informed me how some of her peers are bullying her. They are incredibly rude to her, physically push her in the hallways and constantly make fun of her. She tries to play off the situation in a mature way and says it does not bother her. However, whenever she comes home from school, she looks upset. She has made friends from other schools now and is spending more time with them, but she still has to see the mean kids at her school. I know I need to help her. What should I do? -- Protecting My Child, Denver
DEAR PROTECTING MY CHILD: Tell your daughter that you want to help her through this difficult situation. Ask her to tell you about as many different scenarios as she can recall where she has been bullied. Get her to name names, dates, locations and times to the best of her ability. Tell her you want to speak to her school's authorities about the other students' behavior. Ask if she would like to join you in the conversation. The reason you want to let her know up front is that you do not want to risk embarrassing her unnecessarily by having her learn that you are advocating on her behalf without her knowledge.
Whether she agrees to go or not, schedule a meeting with the principal and explain what has been happening. Bring the list you made with your daughter, and describe the various incidents with the principal. Ask for support. You want these children to stop harassing your daughter, and if the school authorities will not help you, the next stop may be the police department.