As anti-bullying month ends, parents can be encouraged that there is help available to ensure a good education and a bully free environment. Bullying is not limited to middle school and high school; it can start at a much younger age.
A parent’s choice:
Shannon never thought of bullying as a problem as she sent her daughter to kindergarten. Her child had done well in preschool. Shannon and her husband heard good things about the local school. So when her young child came home with some scrapes and bruises, Shannon did not think of bullying, she thought of active kids playing games.
However, as time passed her kindergartener came home with more scratches, and one day came home with a large scratch under her eye. With some coaxing, Shannon’s daughter told her that a girl the child thought was her friend hit her in the eye with a rock encased in a snowball. Shannon went to the school administration, but found no interest in reprimanding the children who were assaulting her child. She was told, “The children who were harming her daughter were too young to issue consequences to.”
During the remainder of kindergarten and first grade, the bullying continued. Shannon watched as her happy little girl became withdrawn and began to lose confidence. Shannon continued to address the bullying in the school and on the bus, but to no avail. The transportation department for the local school district refused to intervene and suspend the rowdy children from the bus.
The final straw for Shannon and her husband occurred when Shannon tried to change where her daughter boarded the bus. The family lives in a rural community where the bus picks up children on one side of the road, continues for a few miles, and then returns up the same road picking up additional children. Shannon thought she could spare her daughter 20 minutes of exposure to the bullying behavior by boarding the bus on its return trip. To Shannon, this seemed very simple. The bus stopped in front of her home on both trips However, she received a call from the school and was told that if her daughter did not board the bus at the appointed stop, bus service would not be provided.
The school district would not deny transportation to children exhibiting rowdy and abusive behavior on the bus, but would deny bus transportation to a child who wanted to board at a different stop.
This is when Shannon and her husband decided to explore alternative education. They chose K12. Their daughter started the K12 program in the second grade. Although it took a few months, Shannon found that her daughter regained her self-esteem and began to excel in schoolwork. K12 offers community events and field trips to engage her daughter with other K12 students, and her daughter has made friends and is even joining Girl Scouts this year.
As we see from Shannon’s story, schools tend to ignore bullying among young children. Schools unwittingly grant permission to engage in bullying behaviors by refusing to reprimand children and teach an awareness of anti-bullying behavior at a young age. This unspoken permission to bully then continues into the middle and high school years where the consequences can be much direr.