Reporting and making a complaint

If bullying is affecting your child or your child is involved, don’t wait. Talk to someone, such as your child’s teacher or principal.

On this page:

Reporting bullying

All schools are required to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for their students (National Administration Guideline 5 – NAG 5).

Contact the school immediately if you have a concern about your child’s safety.

Schools can be enormously helpful once they are aware that there is a bullying concern.

Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher or senior staff member/principal. Speak to your school and agree appropriate action.

REMEMBER: When talking to school staff about bullying, try not to be aggressive or lose your temper. A good working relationship between you and the school is important.

Tips for Reporting Bullying

  • Listen to your child and assure them that they have a right to be safe.
  • Be clear on the facts.  Make notes about what happened and when it happened.
  • Help your child see that there is a difference between ‘narking’, ‘tattling’ or ‘telling’ and reporting.  It takes courage to report.  Reporting is done not to cause trouble for another student, but to protect all students.
  • Make an appointment to talk to your child’s teacher, another staff member that your child trusts, or the principal or deputy-principal of the school.
  • It may be difficult, but try to remain calm so that you can support your child and plan a course of action with them.
  • Stay on track.  Keep an eye on your child’s behaviour.  If your meetings with school staff haven’t made the bullying stop, go back and talk to the principal.  Follow-up on the steps that were agreed to at the meeting.
  • Speak to your child’s trainer or coach if the bullying is taking place during after-school activities or sports events.
  • Contact the Police if the bullying involves criminal behaviour, such as sexual assault or use of a weapon, or if the threat to your child’s safety is in the community rather than the school.

Find out more about responding to bullying in the Tackling Bullying - a guide for parents and whānau

What can the school do?

All schools are required to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for their students (National Administration Guideline 5 - NAG 5).  Your school’s anti-bullying policy helps make sure the obligation to provide a safe learning environment is being met.

Most mild bullying can be managed by students themselves, with support from their classroom teachers.  Responding to more severe bullying behaviour may need help from senior school staff.

Find out more about what can the school do in the Tackling Bullying - a guide for parents and whānau

Making a complaint

If you’re unhappy with how the school / kura has handled a bullying incident, you can:

  • make a written complaint to the school’s Board of Trustees
  • ask to attend the Board of Trustees meeting at which your complaint will be addressed
  • speak at that Board of Trustees meeting (with permission from the chairperson).

If you’re still unhappy with how the bullying incident is being dealt with, you can take their complaint to:

If you take the complaint to your local police station, police will follow a process that includes:

  • assessing how serious the bullying is, the evidence and the circumstances
  • providing advice on how to prevent further bullying and keep your child safe
  • investigating and deciding whether to warn or charge the person doing the bullying.

Further resources

Resource icon

Parents - Need help now?

Resources and links to help if your child or someone else is being bullied

Resource icon

Schools and the right to discipline

This guide supports Parents and Caregivers to understand a schools right to discipline.


Tackling Bullying - A guide for parents and whānau

This guide will help parents, whānau and schools to work together to tackle bullying behaviour. It includes information about bullying and what parents and whānau can do. There are tips for parents...