Bullying can devastate children, families and schools. CCA takes bullying seriously, because we see the lingering impact on the many students who enroll with us to escape bullying at their former schools. We understand our responsibility to protect students from bullying and help victims heal. CCA’s network of personal, academic and family resources helps students overcome the aftermath of bullying, while strong procedures build a school culture that respects individuals and stamps out bullying at the first signs.
Signs Your Child Is Experiencing Bullying
Children who are being bullied don’t always ask for help. In fact, one study showed that only four of 10 children notified an adult that they were being bullied. Some might feel they need to take control of the situation themselves, or they fear backlash from their bully. Maybe they don’t want to reveal their sense of humiliation, or they already feel socially isolated and believe that no one cares or understands.
That’s why it’s important to watch for the signs of bullying. Not every child will react in the same way, but these warning signs can point to a problem:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomachaches. A child might even fake an illness
- Skipping meals, binge eating or coming home from school hungry because they didn’t eat lunch
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors, such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide
Students might also change the way they engage with family, teachers and peers. They might withdraw from schoolwork, show changes in academics or lose interest in activities. Adults should be aware, though, that not every child who’s being bullied will display symptoms. The important thing is to watch attentively and get help right away if bullying is suspected.
The Impact of Bullying in Schools
Bullying is not a “rite of passage.” It is not harmless hazing. Science shows that bullying has very real repercussions for the victim’s physical and mental health, in the immediate and long terms. The consequences even ripple to families and schools. They can include:
Emotional and Social Effects
Children targeted by bullies can struggle to make friends and maintain healthy relationships. Their self-esteem plummets when they start to believe the hateful things said about them. Painful emotions including anger, bitterness, vulnerability, helplessness and loneliness can prompt them to skip classes and resort to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. They could become depressed and contemplate suicide. Without effective intervention, these bullied children can grow into adults whose lack of trust impairs their personal and work relationships.
The bumps and bruises caused by physical bullying are visible, but bullied children also suffer stress that takes its toll on health and well-being. They might be sick more often or experience ulcers, headaches or stomachaches. The effects of bullying can worsen skin conditions and heart conditions.
Children who are bullied have difficulty focusing on their schoolwork. As they forget about assignments or struggle to pay attention in class, their grades begin to slip. They might skip school or classes to avoid being bullied. One study from the University of Virginia shows lower standardized test scores in schools where bullying is endemic. Even students who witness bullying suffer academically, perhaps due to distraction or worry, or because teachers spend less time teaching and more time on classroom management.
Bullying forces its way into the home. Parents may feel powerless and unsure of their parenting abilities. They can endure physical and mental health repercussions, including ulcers and depression.
For all these reasons, swift and comprehensive action is crucial to help victims recover and to prevent bullying at school in the first place.
PA State Laws and Policies
Pennsylvania’s anti-bullying law requires that schools create written policies that address bullying and identify the personnel who hear complaints. Cyberharassment of a child can be considered a third-degree misdemeanor. State anti-bullying resources include hotlines, grants and a bullying prevention toolkit.
However, as experts have pointed out, Pennsylvania’s statutes do not prohibit bullying outright. And although they cover verbal, physical and written bullying, they don’t address the “relational” sort such as spreading rumors. School districts are not required to report on the effectiveness of their policies, and they may, but aren’t required to, develop prevention and education programs.
While many school districts fully commit to anti-bullying efforts, Pennsylvania’s patchwork approach leaves children vulnerable simply because of the district where they live. As a cyber school, CCA offers a safe haven for students bullied in these traditional settings. Our school thrives when our students thrive, so we have the tools and the response network to promote recovery, respect and prevention.
What Cyber Schools Can Do to Prevent Bullying
Bullies and cyberbullies are opportunists, doing their harmful deeds when adults are least likely to notice. Their work starts, in person or online, when your child is out of your sight. That’s why more parents are regaining control through online schooling to protect their children from bullying.
Online learning offers escape from the daily reminders of bullying – those places and people that trigger distress in bullied children. Kids are free from the pressures of conformity, able to surround themselves with social circles of their choosing. Parents report that their cyber students experience less anxiety and stress, and they perform better academically. Some students even report that they’re likelier to participate in online classroom discussions, free from the fear of ridicule by classmates. Cyber schools also empower parents by offering the security of knowing where their children are all day and with whom they’re spending time.
A cyber school committed to stopping bullying, like CCA, has in place carefully constructed policies that address all aspects of bullying. Reporting and response procedures are firmly established. Rules are strictly enforced. Resources that promote healing and prevention are accessible. A culture of respect is instilled in every function of the school, ensuring an atmosphere where bullying doesn’t get in the way of learning and the happiness of children.
Finding Safety at CCA
Bullying disrupts a child’s sense of security. CCA’s multilayered approach combines direct assistance, school counseling and at-home learning to restore children to wellness and foster a safe and respectful learning environment.
Student Assistance Program
At CCA, the Student Assistance Program (SAP) is the first line of defense to protect students from bullying. The administrators, teachers, counselors and outside professionals on the SAP team are trained to help students who are experiencing nonacademic barriers to learning, such as bullying.
First, we train teachers, family mentors and parents themselves in the red flags of bullying. When someone identifies a child who has been or is being bullied, the SAP swings into action. A certified case manager reaches out to the family to discuss available community resources, such as individual counseling, support groups and mentor programs. It all depends on the family’s circumstances and needs. The program also develops accommodations and support in the school environment to help students succeed academically.
Just like CCA’s academics, SAP is individualized to the needs of the child, even taking into account practical things like family finances and transportation needs.
School Counseling Support
From a young age, CCA students learn that bullying is not OK. Our guidance lessons for elementary, middle and high school students teach learners the types of acceptable behavior, what to do if they see bullying or are bullied, and whom to approach for help.
Parents can be confident that anything they share with CCA about what happened to their child will prompt action. The more we know, the more effective we can be at finding appropriate and effective supports.
Access to Learning at Home
CCA partners with the entire family to develop a customized plan to help your child succeed. As your family leaves behind the pain of bullying, you can be sure that learning opportunities will keep pace with your child’s needs.
At CCA, we believe this is how school should work:
- Customized learning. Your child is no longer sitting in a classroom, being taught the same things at the same pace as the other students. CCA teachers provide extra support or advanced learning, subject by subject and tailored to your students’ interests and skills.
- Comprehensive education. Your child isn’t merely sitting at the computer all day. CCA delivers highly interactive live lessons, recorded lessons that accommodate the student’s and family’s schedules, workbook projects, career-readiness education and experiences, and a full array of specialized education. It all comes with hands-on learning and lots of fun field trips and activities.
- Parental involvement. With CCA, parents no longer have to worry about what their child is doing and learning at any hour of the day. Parents and other trusted, designated adults are caretakers and learning coaches, responsible for guiding children through the online learning experience.
- Grade-level growth. At each stage of schooling, CCA works with families to help students develop age-appropriate skills, learn independence and responsibility, and achieve educational goals.
CCA Values Student Safety, Support and Success
A good school educates the whole child. Grades are only one part of the picture. CCA’s flexible schedule and the assurance of a safe learning environment combine to promise children the security to be themselves and learn to their full potential.
At CCA, students are free from the specter of bullying. We help you get started with the right technology, and we provide support at every step of the way. Learn more about how your child can benefit from cyber school by reaching out to CCA today!