Bullying is not an easy topic to discuss. It requires sensitivity and understanding as it is a serious issue. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that 20.2% of students are being bullied! Indeed, bullying is at an all-time high. What has gone wrong?
The pandemic created a generation of children who were isolated from the social interactions that are often essential in a learning environment; those important interactions that allow a child to discuss, negotiate, accept, and build character within the confines of the school environment.
Let me share with you several important factors that contribute to this vulnerability.
- Students who have difficulty reading will struggle in all academic areas which can lead to social differences. They are easy targets for teasing and bullying.
- Challenges with reading can lead to low self-esteem for those who are often more susceptible to bullying because they lack the confidence to stand up for themselves or seek help from a teacher or parent.
- Many struggling readers may avoid social interactions to avoid embarrassment, leading to isolation. Bullies tend to target those children who are isolated and have fewer friends to lean on.
- Academic difficulties can cause frustration and stress. Bullies zero in on children who exhibit vulnerability or emotional distress, and low academic performance can contribute to these emotions.
- Bullies gain popularity by targeting those who seem different.
- These aggressors themselves have insecurities and seek power and control by targeting those they perceive as weak or different.
The data on standardized tests administered last year indicates that students were at a disadvantage, and to date, many have not advanced to reading at their grade level.
We can all agree that the pandemic created a series of challenges for parents and students alike. There’s much work to be done.
Together we can conquer the world!