Bullying is no longer limited to children pushing and shoving on the playground where a teacher can easily see and discipline the offender – it frequently happens behind screens and through social media and online platforms.
In July of 2015, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf passed HB229 – a measure that made it illegal to bully a child in the state through electronic communications. Adults and juveniles alike can now face criminal charges if caught in the act of cyber bullying a child. Here at PA Virtual, we have many students who chose cyber education to escape bullying, so we take every measure to eradicate bullying in our community.
Learning Coaches in the PA Virtual model oversee their child’s daily digital activities, and actively participate in their education. While nothing can every fully eliminate bullying, this model quickly allows parents to notify the school if their child has been bullied, or take action if they see their child bullying another.
Additionally, The PA Virtual Guidance Counseling Program offers a variety of services to our students just like a counselor in a brick and mortar school would. Each family at PA Virtual is also required to sign our anti-bullying policy at the beginning of the school year and pledge to uphold the core principles of the school in order to help all young people achieve their full academic and social potential.
In 2014, 25% of teenagers reported that they have experienced repeated bullying on their cell phone, or on the Internet. Also, according to NoBullying.com, 52% of young people report being cyber bullied. October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and we encourage students and adults alike to learn that harassing someone in the digital age based on how they look, feel, or act is wrong!
How can you prevent bullying online or in your community? Share your stories in the comments below!