Is Your Child Being Bullied By Their Teacher? How To Address The Situation

Medically reviewed by Andrea Brant, LMHC
Updated May 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Although we don’t like to focus on the idea of a teachers bullying their students, a hard reality that many students and families face is the mistreatment of students by teachers. This form of bullying can manifest in various ways and leave a lasting impact on kids and their families.

To avoid the negative consequences of teacher bullying, it can be important for the parents of those affected to recognize mistreatment by schools or associated adult teammate, advocate for their children’s health and find viable solutions and resources to support the recovery process moving forward.

To avoid the negative consequences of teacher bullying, it can be important for the parents of those affected to recognize mistreatment by schools or associated adult teammates, advocate for their children’s health and find viable solutions and resources to support the recovery process moving forward.

If you are a parent of a child who has been bullied by their teacher, there are steps you can take to address the situation, support your student’s mental health and ensure your child’s educational environment is safe, comfortable, and conducive to learning. We’ve summarized them for you below.

It can be hard to find out your child is being bullied

What is teacher bullying?

Bullying on the part of educators or school staff can take many forms, often manifesting as intimidation, threats, discrimination, exclusion, or negligence. Mistreatment may include repeated discipline without cause, disparaging or demeaning remarks, neglecting to step in (or joining in) when classmates are bullying a student or providing excessively negative evaluations in front of the kids in class. In past years, many may have accepted this type of treatment toward their children, but it can cause lasting harm. 

Mistreatment and bullying behavior on the part of teachers is considered by many to be a widely prevalent concern. In one survey, 45% of teachers admitted to bullying their students. If unaddressed, this bullying and discriminatory harassment can hinder a student's ability to receive a quality education and severely impact their mental well-being. According to one study, potential long-term mental health consequences include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.

In short, while campaigns designed to stop bullying are popular among the student body, they don’t often extend to parents in this context—making teacher bullying and mistreatment a possibly underreported subject that could affect your child’s learning experience. 

How to address a teacher's bullying

Given many children’s hesitance to discuss mistreatment and the trusted position teachers typically hold, it may be difficult to recognize and address bullying by educators. By being able to identify common signs of maltreatment and then take appropriate action, you can help stop the bullying and limit the negative effects your child may face if their teacher is bullying them. The following are tips for addressing bullying by a teacher and fostering a safer, more supportive educational environment for your child and other students.

Recognizing the signs of bullying

Bullying by their teachers can cause your child to experience emotional distress, exhibit behavioral challenges, or struggle with subjects in which they typically excel. Recognizing these and other signs of bullying in your child’s life can be the first step toward addressing the situation. 

Signs a child is being bullied by an abusive teacher include:

  • Feigning illness in order to avoid school
  • Noticeable changes in self-esteem
  • Emotional distress
  • Social isolation
  • Behavioral challenges 
  • Lower grades than normal
  • Excessively harsh or negative remarks on papers or conduct reports
  • Reduced desire to engage with schoolwork
  • Remarks on a teacher’s demeaning or overly critical behavior

The emotional distress often prompted by bullying from teachers can manifest as fear or sadness. Concurrently, a decline in academic performance may occur as a student who is being bullied struggles to concentrate, loses interest in school and friends, or develops a negative attitude toward learning. 

If you notice these signs in your student, it can be helpful to remember that early intervention can help. Having your child speak to a licensed therapist and taking steps to support your student can help you to directly address the concern quickly. Listen

The first step when responding to potential bullying by a teacher will usually be to let your child explain what has happened. You can ask them to provide details so that you can better understand the situation; and provide them with the emotional support they are likely to need at that moment. Having a clear picture of what’s been happening can make it easier for you to seek assistance and start developing solutions. 

Keep a record

A crucial part of advocating for your child generally involves documenting the incidents of bullying they’ve experienced. By gathering information on bullying episodes—including the teacher’s exact behaviors, when they occurred, who else witnessed them, and other pertinent details—you can keep a detailed record on hand and provide useful information to school authorities or other teachers when necessary. 

In addition to talking to your child, you might also want to discuss the situation with other parents, whose children may have observed the behavior or experienced a similar situation with that educator.    


Learn pertinent policies, laws, and regulations

Prior to taking your concerns to school administrators or others who can resolve the situation, it can be important for you to understand your child’s rights within their specific educational setting. Different states, school districts and municipalities often deal with bullying in varying ways. An understanding of the prevention policies, regulations and procedures related to bullying in your area can help you better address instances of teachers bullying your child. provides resources that list the laws pertaining to bullying in each state, as well as a broader overview of the laws related to bullying in the US. This can help you understand how bullying is commonly characterized, when certain controls or policies apply, who is safeguarded, and what action can be taken. Familiarizing yourself with school policies and rules and local and national laws can provide a strong foundation as you form your line toward a solution.

Speak up

If your child is being bullied by their educator, you can use your voice to ensure their learning space is safe. In situations that are less severe, you may want to first discuss the situation with their teacher. Talking to your child’s educator allows you to air your concerns directly and find a straightforward resolution. They may not have realized that they were targeting only one student or that their behavior caused your child distress. 

If talking to your child’s teacher has not yielded results or is not a viable option, you may need to bring your concerns to one of the teacher’s supervisors or a senior teacher. Depending on the typical procedure for addressing bullying by teachers in your district or school, the next point of contact may be the school’s principal, vice principal or another administrator. After you’ve reached out to these people, you might also have to go to your district’s school board or schedule meetings with other school authorities.

During meetings with school officials, you can communicate the problems and your concerns, and present any evidence you have gathered. Administrators or other authorities can work with you to determine the best way of resolving the situation so that your child feels comfortable in class. Advocating for your child helps to ensure they receive fair treatment and can learn in a positive environment that offers emotional safety.

It can be hard to find out your child is being bullied

Seek support 

If bullying from teachers has affected your family, the guidance, encouragement and care of others can help both you and your child move forward. As a parent, you can contact outside organizations for support, such as parent-teacher associations or child advocacy groups. You can also arrange for your child to discuss their concerns with a school counselor. This can provide them with emotional support and also signal to them that they have advocates from other adults within the school. Encourage your child to be open in communicating with you about situations that don’t feel right to them. 

Seeking further mental health care for emotional distress caused by teachers bullying students may also be beneficial. A professional can help validate your child’s feelings and experiences as well as monitor and address symptoms of potential mental health challenges that may have arisen due to mistreatment from the school bully. If you’d like helpful parenting insights and advice on navigating a potential bullying situation, you can also seek the support of a professional.

Finding support through online therapy

Studies show that online therapy can be a useful tool for parents of children who experience challenges that may arise out of bullying, such as social phobia or other anxiety disorders. The results of one study show that an online intervention—which was geared toward helping caregivers develop strategies for decreasing anxiety in children—led to significant reductions in the symptoms of children whose parents completed the program. These results can be added to those of an increasing number of studies suggesting the effectiveness of online therapy that can help parents address both the mental health concerns of their children and challenges regarding their own emotional well-being. 

Online therapy can be a convenient source of support for parents of bullying survivors. Using online therapy platforms like BetterHelp, you can work with a therapist remotely, which can be helpful if you’re already busy as a parent. Your therapist can also connect you with useful resources, such as articles geared toward developing coping strategies for the emotional impacts of bullying. 


Teacher bullying can leave years of lasting impact on young people and their families. To address and overcome bullying abuse, it can be important for the youths affected and their supporters to recognize the signs of mistreatment, advocate for themselves and seek help. If teacher bullying has affected your child, a mental health professional can help you give them the support they need and provide insights into how you can effectively address the situation. Getting matched with a licensed therapist can be a constructive next step toward fostering both educational success and mental wellness in your family. 

Is bullying impacting your life?
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started