The following message came from a parent via my "Middle School Bullying" page on Squidoo.com. My response follows the parent's message.
My Daughter (who has Special Needs) has been getting bullied since Kindergarten and started really pick up in fourth grade. My daughter attends school in a small town where most families have been there for generations and 8 times out of 10 they're related to each other. Oddly enough I've had nothing but a good rapport and communication with the teachers and administrators. Everytime an incident happened I would talk to the teachers and the administrators. They have a bullying program and they handled each incident appropriately. The problem are the kids, all the talks from teachers and administration, detentions and talking to parents goes in one ear and out the other. It lasts for 1 or 2 days and starts up again. My daughter tells me most of the time the whisper to her or do it when the teachers not looking. She's constantly being ostracized, told to shut up, given dirty looks, called names, has gotten put on a hit list in the fourth grade, went to a party with most of her class and didn't even get talked to, threatened to get punched, and I just found out that in one of her classes when they work in groups they leave her out and the teacher has to force them to take her into their group. I'm so tired of hearing "We need to give her the tools to help herself and to teacher to cope". My daughter is tired of doing everything right and it still happens. She only has 1 friend at school and when her friends absent she eats by herself or the teacher sits and eats with her. My heart breaks for my daughter because no matter the consequences to the bullies it has no effect. Out of 120 kids in her class they either tolerate, act indifferent to her or bully her. I'm pretty much worn out and don't know what other options. Do I have the right to talk to the parents even if it's the first incident.
Wow, you have great courage, which your daughter is going to need from you in the coming days, weeks and months to come. First, your daughter has the right to feel safe at school. Being accepted for who she is also falls within the rights that each student has.
Have you spoken to the principal? If so, what did the Principal agree to do that would change the way your daughter is being treated? If not, plan to call the school on Monday at request to see the Principal. Preface the conversation with, "I'm concerned about my daughter's safety. She doesn't want to go to school and her academic achievement is suffering because of it." Ask for a 20-minute meeting in the next day or two. The goal of the meeting is to create an action plan, not assign blame, that will help teachers and students respond in a different way to your daughter.
In response to your question about talking directly to the parents, yes you have the right; however, the outcome may not yield any positive results unless you already have a relationship with the parents. My encouragement to you is to pursue the school route, trying to affect change in the place where your daughter spends the majority of her waking hours.
Let me know about the results of your meeting and we can talk about next steps.
A few resources: a book titled, "The Bully Action Guide" by Edward F. Dragan. Great resource for parents. Here it is on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Bully-Action-Guide-School-Listen/dp/0230110428
Also consider Sprigeo.com, an organization I started this past year that gives kids the opportunity to report bullying and school safety incidents to their principals. We have experienced an incredible number of success stories.