Virtual schools have become an incredible resource for families looking for an alternative to the typical, in-person educational system. Many of the reasons parents choose to enroll their children in virtual schools revolve around one common theme — a desire to educate their kids in a safe, protective environment.
Virtual schools are naturally safe zone for students by nature of the student being home. The virtual model eliminates the multiple dangers parents worry about when sending their kids to brick and mortar schools. Many parents also see virtual education as a means to monitor and protect their children from learning bad behaviors from other students in school.
The four top reasons cited for putting students in virtual schools:
- School violence
- Peer pressure
Health – As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, health is a huge concern when it comes to sending your children to brick and mortar schools. When schools around the country closed because of COVID-19, parents noticed their kids were not getting sick as they had in years past. From colds to flu, RSV, pink eye, lice, whooping cough, and strep throat, school-aged children seemed to be contracting contagious diseases far less often than when they were in the traditional school setting.
This, in turn, helped parents and siblings stay healthier as the kids were not bringing these infectious illnesses home.
Bullying – It’s estimated that 20% of students nationwide are victims of bullying each year. It’s also estimated that less than half of the students being bullies report it so the likely to be quite higher. Students attending in-person classes are not only subjected to physical bullying but are most likely more likely to be bullied through social media. A combination of cyber bullying and physical bullying leaves these young impressionable kids feeling isolated and worthless. This can be manifested in the form of withdrawing from family and friends, acts of self-inflicted injury, all the way to committing suicide.
Virtual schools, by the nature of how students attend, eliminates physical bullying on school grounds. And with the equalizing nature of not seeing shoes or the type of clothing a student wears, much of the cyber bullying is reduced.
School Violence – In recent years, around 71% of public schools have reported at least one violent act per year with nearly 50% of schools reporting gang activity within their districts. With the latest data available showing that there’s a school shooting every 77 days in the U.S., virtual schools are a great alternative to keep students safe.
Peer Pressure – Peer pressure is a huge part of every child’s experience growing up. Most peer pressure occurs at school where students gather daily to judge others for what brand of clothes and shoe they wear, what their hair style is and one of the newest, body shaming. Other areas of peer pressure include smoking, drinking, doing drugs, bullying others, encouraging sexual behaviors, cursing, disrespecting authority and other behaviors that parents try to prevent their child from experiencing.
Peer pressure is significantly lessened when children attend virtual schools. The taunting and the dares to try something aren’t there because the environment is completely different. Significantly reducing peer pressure has a powerful positive impact because these behaviors happen when kids are most vulnerable, when they are learning and building their social lives and skills.
Virtual schools are much safer and they give students a great education. A virtual school is not an online class where students can log in at their leisure. A virtual school is managed the same way a brick and mortar is. Students attend class all day, every day. They are in a classroom with the teacher, teacher’s aide and other students. They get a well-rounded education, including the social learning that’s so critical to a child’s development.