When Bullying Interrupts Education: How Two Bullied Kids Prioritized Learning
Bullies are at the bus stop, on the school bus, in the classroom, in hallways, and, sadly, one out of every four students will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence. Eventually, bullied kids begin to fall behind in their education as the bullying takes a toll emotionally and physically. Online education has been a refuge for such students to get out of these damaging situations and regain their right to focus on their education in a safe environment.
What follows are two stories of bright kids who found a refuge from bullying in online education and are now flourishing in school without the distraction of being bullied.
When Savannah was in elementary school, she had a few good friends and even joined the band, but the cruel bullying became a real problem for her. “Everyone knows the saying ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you,’” she writes on the K12 Stories site. “Well, the pain from a stick will hurt for a few days, but the pain from cruel words may hurt for the rest of your life. In fifth grade, regular math as too easy. I was taught eighth grade math. Because of that, kids wanted me to give them answers and I always said no. So they would make fun of me. I soon began to lose some of my friends.”
Then, more bad news for Savannah: The gifted program was shut down after the fifth grade, cutting her off from academic growth. And, over time, “the bullying got horrible.” Fortunately, her family planned to move to a new house— and, when they relocated, Savannah enrolled in Georgia Cyber Academy, a full-time, public online school.
“This changed my life,” Savannah says, “I was able to focus on my schoolwork and not be bothered by other people. It also made room for me to advance in piano. I made new friends, and I have learned many new things!”
After being homeschooled through third grade, Taylor went to a brick-and-mortar school, but it was difficult for her. “People made fun of any little thing I did, and I felt ashamed for who I was,” she explains on K12’s Stories site. So began years of searching for a better path, as bullies forced Taylor from one school to another. As the new kid, she found herself on the outside looking in at the “tight knit, popular brigade.” A bright student, she enjoyed learning. “I was always in the library,” she says. “I had found it as a safe house; nobody could push me down or laugh at my lack of everything.” She longed to be “popular and cool. All the things I wanted to be, yet never was.”
Finally, after an unhappy tenth grade at yet another new school, she enrolled in Idaho Virtual Academy—a full-time, public online school—and her life has changed, dramatically. In her words:
“I am enjoying it thoroughly. I have two friends [and] have learned something great and wonderful. I had let those people define who I was, and it made me miserable. They taught: ‘Happiness lies in how many friends you have or how popular you are.’ Looking back, I laugh at this idea. Popular is a figment of imagination. It’s a scam! Let yourself define what your happiness is. Achieve whatever you want, and don’t let ideas of the crowd sway you. I am now free, because I realize that I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
“This story is true. I hope you use it as a beacon of hope.”
Bullied Kids Can Make Learning a Priority
When bullying stops kids from learning, something needs to be done. But, whether kids speak up, or do their best to avoid the bully, some situations require a more serious resolution like changing schools. If your child is in a situation that is preventing him or her from learning in school, you may want to consider online learning as a solution. As Taylor says, her story can be “a beacon of hope.”
- Video: 4 Steps to Dealing with a Bully
- Bullying Infographic: Two Paths of a Bullied Student
- Tips to Address and Stop Bullying
- 5 Times Hollywood Took a Stance on Bullying
- 5 Ways Bullying Affects Students
- What Is Cyberbullying? Parents in Survey Struggle to Define It
- Freedom from Bullying Gives Rise to Academic Excellence
- Your Complete Guide to Stop Bullying
- Finding a Solution to Schoolyard Bullying
- 5 Tips to Prevent Cyberbullying
- Online Learning: A Bullying Refuge
- The Link Between Karate and Bullying Prevention
Brittany Marklin is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a community manager for K12. She coordinates all K12 student contests and connects with families who pursue online education. She attended George Mason University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, with a minor in tourism and events management. Brittany spent her first five years at K12 on the social media team where she aided with content and strategy for multiple channels, and helped construct K12’s user-generated content site, “What’s Your Story?” When she’s not working, Brittany loves spending time with her husband and daughter in North Carolina.