Posted by ICON School on Oct 25, 2017 12:58:00 PM

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The tragic stories show up in the news too often: students who are driven to suicide because of bullying. Whenever this happens, there's an understandable wave of emotion from community members. How could this have happened? We never saw it coming.

And yet, what's vital for us to realize is the headlines that won't be written, the stories that don't show up in the news: the stories of kids who endure bullying and as a result, drop out of school or attend infrequently, or who suffer PTSD and debilitating social anxiety. These kids may stay out of the news, but they're already being pushed down the path bullying creates, and they're in dire need of help.

The Lasting Impact of Bullying

Bullying has a domino effect: it starts by making a child uncomfortable and resigned at school, then causes absences and drop-outs. The anxiety of bullying becomes an enormous barrier to learning, and as their grades drop, many kids lose confidence in themselves, falling further and further behind their peers. One semester of bullying in a child's life could have lasting consequences, while years of torment could derail a young person's life.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. At ICON, we believe bullying is devastating and should be handled swiftly and with powerful advocacy wherever it's happening. We also know that sometimes, the safest school environment for a child is far away from the triggering memories and the terrifying reminders of bullying. That's why we're proud to support many students who've survived bullying.

Building a Safe Environment for Students

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, most bullying occurs in middle school, a pivotal time both developmentally and academically for children. Around a third of students say they've been bullied at school, and most of those students are perceived as different by their peers. Bullying affects more than only the child at the receiving end: bystanders are also affected as well as the bully themselves. The effects of bullying can last well into adulthood, especially considering how bullied kids are more likely to develop depression and anxiety, suffer from health issues, abuse substances, and skip or drop out of school.

No parent wants their child to lose step in school, but even more importantly they want them to feel empowered to thrive in a safe environment. For many students, home is the safest place they'll ever know, and the best place to learn, grow and explore the topics that interest them. ICON allows kids to work at their own pace, finally finding the success they've craved while blooming in a secure place.

No child should feel unsafe at school, and ideally, every school should be a protected place. But too many parents know all too well how terrifying school can become for bullied children. Parents may feel powerless, but they're not: there are options for kids suffering from bullying. Free public online schools can be a powerful tool for academic success, providing exactly the freedom your child needs to thrive.

If you believe your child would benefit from learning at home with free online public school, get more information by contacting Head of School, Vickie McCullough

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Written by ICON School

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