School bullying is nothing new. Everyone has heard about it. Many have been on the receiving end. Parents want to protect their children and ensure they do not fall prey to the same treatment. A recent bullying incident involving a young Australian captured on video and posted on YouTube has raised public awareness of this universal issue and increased the urgency of finding solutions to prevent bullying.
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, bullying is the most common form of violence in our society. Nearly 30 percent of U.S. students are estimated to be involved, either as the aggressor or the victim. While the act of bullying takes on many forms—verbal, emotional, cyber bullying—on average more than a quarter of a million students are reported to be physically attacked during the school day.
Theresa, a current student at James Madison High School, admitted to being bullied while attending public school. “I grew up and was bullied on a regular basis,” she said during a recent online discussion. “People really don’t understand the effect, both physically and emotionally, that bullying has.” Theresa requested her last name remain anonymous.
Aside from the physical and emotional damage, other effects stemming from bullying can have a negative impact on a student’s academic career and life. Reports by traditional brick-and-mortar institutions indicate bullying to be the cause for an average of 160,000 students staying home from school each day. The tension and anxiety created by bullying affects concentration in the classroom, and has health effects including social isolation and depression. Bullying directly ties to one out of every 10 drop outs.
Worse, there has been shown to be a strong link between bullying and suicide. According to a Yale University study, victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide.
While families who experience issues with bullying may have education alternatives, sending their child to a school out of district, paying tuition for a private school, or waiting for an opening at a charter school may not be practical.There are, however, countless stories of mothers who have successfully turned to online education as a way to give their children a quality, accredited education in a safe environment—typically at home.
“Since the 1890s, when the first at-home high school study programs were first offered, several million students have successfully completed their compulsory schooling at DETC accredited institutions,” said Michael Lambert, Executive Director of the Distance Education and Training Council. “Ensuring the safety and well-being of their child is among the reasons why many parents choose to have their child educated at home at a DETC accredited school. Additionally, parents recognize the many other benefits of distance education, including convenience, affordability, quality instructors and learning effectiveness.”
But distance education today is not the same as it was in the past. Students completing their education via distance learning have, depending on their interests, the opportunity to pursue general studies, college preparatory or vocational tracks that can include a personalized, web-based or textbook-based curriculum built on state and national standards.
“Online high school is an effective and affordable way for students to get a quality education and earn a diploma within the comfort and safety of their home,” said Dr. Leslie Gargiulo, Vice President of Education for James Madison High School and Ashworth College. “We and other online schools understand the frustration felt by the victims of bullying and their families. I’m glad that we can offer them a solution that will help them meet their education goals.”
Technology and social media can further enhance the student experience by linking students with each other, instructors, and tutors for a positive and nurturing community and learning experience. All without the threat of bullies.
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