Devastating stories of bullying have been featured on the television and the internet recently. Unfortunately, in some cases of child mistreatment, the bullies are the teachers. As parents, we often assume that our child is safe when she is at school or daycare. We imagine her days as being full of fun, learning, and improved developmental skills. But for children who are being taunted, beaten, or humiliated by their trusted teacher, school or daycare can be a nightmare, and some of these instances have ended in a child's death. Know the signs and trust your instincts in order to protect your child.

Signs of Abuse by a Teacher

If your child is being mistreated at school or daycare, there will be signs. Your child may not be able to tell you about the abuse or may be afraid to talk to you about it, so you must pay attention to your child's behavior and talk openly with your child at all times about school. Be aware if your child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or mood, especially around the topic of school.
  • Shows signs of stress such as headaches, stomachaches, or frequent nightmares.
  • Begins crying or acting out when it is time for school or daycare.
  • Begins to refuse to attend school or daycare or has a sudden disinterest in school.
  • Has bumps or bruises that the teacher dismisses.
  • Tells you that her teacher doesn't like her, yells at her, or embarrasses her in class.

What to Do

If you suspect that a teacher is mistreating your child it is important to act calmly, but immediately. The longer the abuse is allowed to go on, the more withdrawn your child will become, the more likely it will be that your child begins to act out, and the more likely the abuse is to escalate. offers these steps to take when you learn that your child may be the victim of an abusive teacher:

  • Schedule a meeting with the teacher and the principal. Record the time, place, and notes of each meeting you have.
  • Listen to the teacher's side of the story, but follow your instincts.
  • If the problem is not resolved, schedule a meeting with the superintendent and bring copies of all of your meeting notes.
  • Remove your child from the classroom or school.

Keeping our children safe is the number one priority of parents. Simply assuming they are safe when they are at school or daycare is not an option. To help prevent abuse, become a frequent volunteer at your child's school in order to be aware of her teacher's attitudes and behaviors. You can also meet with your child's teachers on a regular basis to get to know them and establish a solid relationship. Make frequent drop-in visits to preschools and daycares, and get to know other parents as well in order to compare notes.