There’s nothing worse than going to school every day only to become a victim of intense bullying that often takes place within our communities. While bullying in schools certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, and many anti-bullying policies have been put into place to combat it, it still continues to hurt many of children every year.
According to the latest study done by the Institute of Education Sciences, in 2018 alone there were 836,100 instances of victimization by peers at school and 410,200 instances of victimization by peers outside of school for kids between the ages of 12-18. These instances of bullying and cyberbullying included anything from theft to nonfatal violent acts including social/emotional abuse along with physical and sexual violence.
And during the 2019-2020 school year alone, there were 75 school shootings with casualties in both public and private elementary and secondary school districts in the United States with an additional 37 school shootings that did not result in any casualties.
What these staggering numbers tell us is that school violence continues to be a pervasive issue in our country.
The reasons kids bully each other are equally alarming. Some of the top reasons certain kids become bullies are:
- Having unemotional traits or psychopathic tendencies
- Having higher social intelligence or status
- Being easily influenced by their peers
- Coming from negative home environments and unsafe neighborhoods
- Being involved in gangs
- Having poor parental supervision
- Being abused at home
This goes to show that the bullies inside of our schools are likely to be victims of abuse themselves outside of school. It’s important to note that the neglect and abuse of children in our communities has a great impact on those around them.
But what about the kids who are targeted by bullies? Some of the top reasons certain kids are bullied are:
- Having limited social skills
- Getting rejected by peer groups
- Being perceived as weak
- Having low self-esteem
- Having a distinctive physical appearance
- Being a minority race
- Belonging to a lower socio-economic class
- Sexual orientation
- Disability or illness
In general, being in any way different from the crowd at school increases a child’s risk of being bullied by his or her peers.
Unfortunately, once a child is targeted by a bully, the abuse doesn’t end with the school day or even the school year. Bullying has long-term consequences that can stick with a child long into adulthood and can impact their outlook on life and their ability to succeed.
Victims of bullying are far more likely to suffer depression and anxiety, have interrupted sleep and eating patterns, feel sick and engage in risky behaviors. They often lash out at their parents and siblings or totally withdraw from everything and everyone. We hear all too often that a teen or child suicide happened and in looking at the cause find they were a victim of bullying.
It’s important to speak with any children in your life about bullying, to be a safe person they can confide in, and to stand up for them when they are being targeted by a bully either in or outside of school.
For students being bullied, or at risk of being bullied, virtual schools can offer a great education while providing a safe learning environment for them. There are many virtual schools around the country, including those that traditional school systems include as part of their educational offering.
Jigsaw Interactive is a virtual classroom platform that many virtual schools use to ensure students are in class, actively engaged, have a social learning environment so every student has access to the same high quality education opportunities. To learn more about how virtual education can meet student needs check out www.jigsawinteractive.com.