Sheri McKeever teaches special education at Insight School of Minnesota (ISMN).
October is National Bullying Prevention month. Online education can assist students in making healthier choices when it comes to preventing bullying or by avoiding a potentially negative situation. We all know that certain youth have a tendency to point out the negative aspects of others, whether that is through someone’s looks, actions, abilities, or personality. Online education provides a safe environment for students to learn and develop without disclosing aspects of themselves that have made them a target in the past.
For example, one student I work with has a physical disability that has made him a target in the past. He has stated that students wouldn’t even give him a chance because of his actions, which he had no control over. This student is able to participate in class discussions, interact with others safely, and create friendships while disclosing his disability when he chooses. He has found that once others are able to get to know him, they are not bothered by his actions. He has gained confidence who he is as a person and for the first time is making friends from all over the state!
Another young woman I work with suffered a terrible accident and is facing disfigurement as a result. Online learning allows her to continue her education while she concentrates on healing and restoration. She does not have to concern herself with the questioning stares or comments others may make while she heals. She has stated that she is very thankful for the opportunity to learn, get to know others, and build friendships during this time.
Online education allows students who may have had negative experiences in school develop a positive experience. Students gain confidence and expand their horizons when they take control of their learning environment and set themselves up for success. Students are able to build respectful, kind, and nurturing relationships while continuing the education.