Halstrom Blog Post
Bullying: When Is It Time to Change Schools?
If your child is a victim of bullying, you may feel at a loss for what to do. Should you wait it out or take more aggressive action? Many kids experience bullying at some point, but some cases are worse than others. One long-term study suggests that up to 24% of kids face chronic bullying that lasts for more than a few years. In 18% of those cases, the bullying gets worse in middle and high school.
Because bullying involves someone who has more power taking advantage of someone with less, it is difficult to shift the dynamics that lead to a child being victimized. If the situation doesn't resolve, some parents consider moving their child to a new school. This is a big decision that each family should consider carefully. However, here are some signs that it might be time to move your child to a new environment:
Your Child's Grades Drop Suddenly
Bullying doesn't just hurt a kid's self-esteem. Bullied students are more likely to have lower grades than their non-bullied peers. If your child is chronically bullied and her grades are dipping, it may be time to take action. A study by UCLA researchers found that being bullied corresponds to as much as a 1.5-point decrease in GPA per academic year. Though changing schools will involve a great deal of transition for your family, your child’s long-term academic success may depend on it.
Your Child Develops a Negative Attitude toward School
A constant dread of going to school (or riding the bus, or attending a particular class) is a red flag. Students who are bullied tend to develop lasting negative attitudes toward school and learning. Often, a reluctance to go to school manifests as physical symptoms like headaches, stomach pains, or difficulty sleeping. If you notice your child developing an aversion to school because of bullying, moving her to a new environment may gradually relieve these negative associations.
Your Child Doesn't Seem Happy Anymore
The social and psychological effects of bullying are widely researched and discussed. According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, bullying can lead to serious emotional difficulties. Because bullies want to instill fear and low self-esteem in their targets, children who are bullied can have difficulty seeing themselves as "desirable, capable, and effective individuals." This internal erosion of self-worth becomes apparent on the surface when children seem anxious or depressed. If you see these symptoms in your child, it's time to take steps to prevent further trauma.
In recent years, many schools have revised their policies about bullying. However, many schools still do not respond in timely, appropriate ways to bullying allegations. In these cases, moving schools may seem like the only option. If your family is in this frightening and confusing situation, rest assured that educators around the country are working hard to develop better policies and anti-bullying practices.
At Halstrom Academy, we take bullying seriously. Bullying is simply incompatible with our small, nurturing school culture. If your child has experienced bullying, we urge you to contact us to discuss how Halstrom Academy may be able to help.