ALVA family shares how daughter escaped school bullies

Originally aired on ABC Jefferson County – October 21, 2020

During this National Bullying Prevention Month, one Vestavia family tells us what worked for them and an expert shares what may work for you.

“She’d come home crying a lot of days from it. We had tried to work with the school some and it seemed more to fall on deaf ears sometimes,” says Conway Brooks who was at one point a very frustrated father.

The Brooks family was looking for answers and having a hard time finding them.

“I was really getting blamed for things I had no part of and kids thought they could do anything to me and the teacher wouldn’t and the teacher didn’t get mad at them,” says Dorthy Brooks, Conway’s daughter who escaped bullying.

She was bullied for being taller than other kids, for being adopted, and for being a minority.

“In our case, some of it was race based bullying, and it drives you to where you want to punch a hole in the wall,” says Conway.

Their solution was to enroll Dorthy in the Alabama Virtual Academy and dance classes, she’s now thriving socially and academically.

Dr. Amin Gilani says if your child shows signs of being bullied, ask them if you can step in.

“Take their permission. When you take their permission they may feel more comfortable about it otherwise they’re going to think ‘I should have not gone to my parents’,” says Gilani, a psychiatrist with Brookwood Baptist and Alabama Psychiatry.

Every parent wants their child to enjoy life, without the worry of being bullied.

“It changes who you are because you start believing what the bully is telling you and you stop thinking and using your own brain,” says Gilani.

It’s a worldwide problem, that together we can stop.

“If you see someone getting bullied, research shows if a bystander intervenes, bullying stops 80% of the time in less than a minute. So, if you are someone seeing their friend getting bullied, you can stand for them,” Gilani says.

If you’d like more information about how to help your child escape being bullied or how to tell if your child is silently suffering at school, you can visit this website.

To learn more about Alabama Virtual Academy, visit

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