You used to be able to send your kids to school and not worry about how they were doing all day. You knew that the teachers and administrators would keep them safe, and the school environment was a wholesome place where education was the only focus.
Unfortunately, things have changed drastically over the last few decades, and the brick-and-mortar school environment looks very different than it once did. From the dangers of peer pressure to increasing cases of bullying, violence, school shootings, and even the spread of contagious diseases. Kids today face many challenges school that were unheard of in the not-so-distant past. Parents can no long take for granted that their children will be safe at school.
Peer pressure is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, but the type of peer pressure occurring in schools today has become alarming. While kids in previous generations were pressured into trying cigarettes or alcohol, today’s kids are pressured into doing much harder drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids.
While kids in previous generations were pressured into holding hands or kissing, today’s kids are pressured into taking explicit photos or videos and engaging in other risky sexual behaviors. And while kids in previous generations were pressured into petty theft, today’s kids are pressured into committing violent acts and gang initiations.
It’s well documented through years of study that peer pressure affects children more than parents would ever like to admit. It can have unintended, life-long consequences for the child and the entire family.
Bullying is another issue that, while certainly not new, has gotten more aggressive and caused more lasting damage to kids. What was once limited to name-calling and a physical scuffle every now and then has turned into tormenting a student for extended lengths of time. The worst part is that kids can’t turn off bullying when they get home because of social media.
Cyberbullying has become a prevalent issue because bullies can now follow your kids home through their laptops or cell phones making sure that they can never escape the abuse. Cyberbullying makes it easier for whole cliques of kids to gang up on one person by posting and sharing nasty comments and threats that make their way around an entire school in a matter of minutes exponentially increasing your child’s humiliation.
And bullying and cyberbullying can begin for any reason whatsoever like not having the right clothes or shoes, developing a crush, a friendship gone awry, or even due to race, socio-economic status, gender identity, religion, or sexual preference. There is no end to bullying topics that can be found and administered against a child.
Violence in the classroom has also gotten out of control. Gone are the days of a fistfight in the hallway being the big news. Students today experience an increasing amount of violence at school including verbal and physical assaults on students, teachers, administrators, and staff. These violent outbursts often lead to trashed classrooms and other property destruction, physical assaults on students and teachers along with sexual assaults.
Violence is not just limited to the high schoolers. Violence is increasing across the board from elementary schools up through high school, so it’s likely that even the youngest children in school will witness violence by the time they graduate.
School Shootings – Remember the first school shooting you ever heard about and how horrified you were? These days school shootings are becoming so common in the United States, many people hardly react to the news. Since the school shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, there have been 68 more school shootings with a total of 486 incidents of firearms at schools.
While even one school shooting is far too many, lockdown drills and locker checks are now a normal part of school life for today’s kids. Everyone lives in fear that their school may be next and their child may be a fatality.
Contagious Diseases – The COVID-19 pandemic really highlighted the health risks of going to school. Other contagious diseases have run rampant through school buildings for years.
Some of these contagious diseases that put your child and your family at risk include:
- Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
- Head lice
- Stomach flu
- Pink Eye
- Strep Throat
Of course, those with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions, like grandparents, are the most vulnerable.
Fortunately, children and parents have options when it comes to receiving a quality education. You’re not stuck with sending your child to the closest school and just dealing with whatever may come. You can always choose to enroll your child in a virtual school.
A virtual education means getting access to first-rate teachers, instruction, materials while benefiting from positive social interactions with peers. Virtual education can be more impactful and powerful for children because they can focus on their education and class study instead of having to deal with someone constantly wanting to hurt or embarrass them.
Students who attend virtual schools can connect with their peers through clubs and sports while also avoiding the day-to-day peer pressure and the constant need to fit in. Parents can stop worrying about the fear of losing their child to school violence and the risk of contagious diseases. They can be assured that their child is getting a great education with the focus on studying and learning.