Definition of Bodily Injury or Threat of Bodily Injury
It is hard to believe that if an adult punches, slaps, or shoves another adult, criminal charges can be filed; but if a child punches, slaps, or shoves another child, it's called boys being boys or roughhousing that got out of hand. It shouldn't matter whether the perpetrator is a grownup or a child, and giving kids the impression that physical violence is okay is sending the wrong message. Violence is violence and assault is assault, and one child punching another shouldn't be dismissed as child's play; it should be taken seriously, there should be consequences, and it should be prevented from happening again.
The basic definition of assault is a violent physical or verbal attack. In some jurisdictions, actual physical contact is not necessary; behavior can be considered assault when one person tries to physically harm another in such a way that the targeted person feels immediately threatened by a person or believes that person to be realistically capable of carrying out a violent attack.
What this means is that one adult can file charges against another adult who simply threatened to commit violence against her. It is interesting that these protections are in place for you (as an adult), but not for your children.
Bullying can be verbal, relational, or physical in nature. And all three forms of bullying can cause serious and lasting psychological, emotional, physical, and academic harm. Bullying should never be tolerated, and it may be up to you — the parent — to hold your child's school accountable for her safety and well-being while she is at school. This is not to say that schools can prevent all instances of bullying — that is impossible — but you can expect your child's school administrators and teachers to exercise sound judgment and due diligence in the effort to protect your child from harm.
Most educators care deeply about the health, safety, and well-being of the children in their care. And most would do everything in their power to help your child should a problem arise. In fact, many students who have problems with bullying are supported and helped through these unpleasant situations, and many parents report positive responses and outcomes to the bullying scenarios their children have faced. Help is definitely out there; but on occasion, a parent can encounter a situation with a particularly vicious bully, a teacher who is unwilling or unable to help, or an administrator who is reluctant to get involved.