October is National Bullying Prevention Month and every year during this month I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to work in a school that offers students a choice. A choice in education. A choice to attend a safe learning environment. A choice that may be a better fit for them than their local brick and mortar school.
How amazing is that? When I think back to my years in grade school, and it wasn’t too terribly long ago, I did not have this choice. Technology advancements hadn’t quite made it possible. And let’s be honest, internet access wasn’t even an option for most of my years in school. If traditional brick and mortar school wasn’t working out for whatever reason, students were basically “stuck” there with little if any options. Today, many students in many of our great states thankfully have educational options.
Several weeks ago when school first started, many of my students shared why they chose to attend Insight School of Kansas. Unfortunately, many of our students chose our school because they were faced with bullying at their previous school. This is extremely upsetting. Some of these students have shared that in some cases it got so bad that they developed depression and anxiety. That at times, they felt they couldn’t even get out of bed. It is devastating to hear some of their experiences. But then something happens. They begin to feel comfortable at Insight. They begin to feel safe and they start to share out in class. They start chatting with their peers. Then, before we know it they begin to blossom. As teachers and advisors, we talk with these students regularly as well as with their learning coaches and we begin to learn and find out just how important of a role our school has been for their family. We hear and experience wonderful stories about how these students have their confidence back, how their grades are improving, and most importantly how they now feel safe and therefore can work hard to reach their potential.
According to StompOutBullying.org, 1 out of 4 students have experienced bullying. This is a gut wrenching statistic. With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, it is important to talk about not only these statistics but how we can help prevent and hopefully end bullying in our schools across the nation.
Lauren Weber is the Social Studies Department Chair at the Insight School of Kansas.