NEW K12 INC. POLLS: Parents Say Online Schools are Safe Haven for Bullied Students

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94% of parents of enrolled families say online school has helped students who were bullied. K12 teachers across America help raise awareness about bullying by encouraging students to share their stories and promote kindness.

We've seen a lot of kids come to K12 after suffering from bullying

Teasing. Threats. Pushing and punching. Spreading rumors. Social exclusion. Regardless of the form it takes, the name is the same —bullying. It’s an age-old issue that impacts too many school children, and a challenge that parents, teachers, and educators are constantly trying to address.

In conjunction with National Bullying Prevention Month, K12 Inc. [NYSE: LRN] – a national leader in online school programs for students in kindergarten through high school – commissioned two new pieces of research that indicates that while bullying is still a widespread problem in U.S. schools, online schools are proving to be an effective solution that allows previously bullied students to thrive.

In support of a bully-free community, K12 teachers and educators across America are also encouraging students to openly share their stories about the bullying they experienced prior to enrolling in their online school in an effort to promote kindness, compassion, and respect among students.

In a K12-commissioned survey by Edge Research of nearly 2,000 parents with children currently enrolled in K12 online schools, 90% would recommend online schools to someone with a student dealing with bullying.

In addition, the survey also found that 23% of all parents and 34% of middle-school parents enrolled in K12 online schools cited bullying as one of the reasons why they chose to enroll. Of parents who enrolled because their child experienced bullying:

  •     94% say that attending online school has helped address the bullying issue;
  •     95% believe their child has benefited academically;
  •     96% would recommend a K12 online school to other families whose children were experiencing bullying problems; and
  •     Increasing self-confidence and students focusing more on schoolwork top the list of the ways parents think online schools help students who have dealt with bullying in the past.

“We’ve seen a lot of kids come to K12 after suffering from bullying, and with the support and environment that we provide they have been able to be successful and flourish,” said K12’s Director of Guidance Counseling Services Laurel Barrette. “We are proud to be able to provide that opportunity to kids.”

Results of New K12-Commissioned Harris Interactive Poll

In a separate K12-commissioned study conducted by Harris Interactive among more than 2,000 U.S. adults, one third of parents (33%) say they know/suspect that at least one of their children has been bullied in school. The survey also revealed that half (50%) of parents who have children under age 18 considered, or would consider, changing schools due to bullying, and of that group, 22% indicated they would consider online school.

Prevalence of Bullying at School: When parents of school-aged children (kindergarten-twelfth grade) were surveyed, 33% either knew or strongly suspected that their child had been bullied at school. An additional 38% of parents of school-aged children (K-12) don't think that their child(ren) have been bullied in school, but aren't totally certain of their child’s experience. Only 28% of parents of school-aged children (K-12) are certain that their child(ren) have not been bullied at school.

Familiarity of Concept of Online Education as Viable Way to Deal with Bullying

When asked by Harris how familiar, if at all, they were with the concept that school-aged children can be enrolled in online education at home as a way to deal with bullying, 78% of parents of school-aged children have heard of this concept. Almost half (48%) of these parents are at least somewhat familiar with the concept and 10% are extremely familiar with the concept.

Kindness Matters

As part of the overall effort, K12 released a video that shows experienced teachers and educators speaking about the problems of bullying and promoting bully-free schools.

K12 also developed printable “kindness tokens.” When teachers and/or parents see children being thoughtful or respectful, they can recognize the behavior by giving a token. With the intent of constructively fostering empathy, children can also hand tokens out to others to acknowledge when someone is being kind.

What’s Your Story?

Through multiple channels, including on K12’s “Real Students Real Stories” website, K12 is encouraging families to share their stories about how online schools have positively impacted their lives. Many students, including kids with special needs and learning challenges, openly share their stories of how bullying personally affected them. Others write about how they overcame bullying and have found success, positive socialization, and a new love for learning since enrolling in online schools. Below are some excerpts:

“Being nice to people was how K12 got my attention in a snap. There are very nice people in this school. I always loved that I could make friends and not be picked on. K12 is right for me.”

"K12 offers a safe and secure learning environment for my son."

“The bullying made it hard for me to trust. They scarred me. But because of my family, friends, K12 and most importantly, God, I have been able to recover and be the open, outgoing, happy person I always was deep down.”

"K12 allows my child to stay in a safe environment, to heal emotionally and grow academically."

“Coming to Ohio Virtual Academy has improved my confidence dramatically in school and out of school. I am now an A and B student. My previous encounters with bulling and bad grades had shattered my confidence, and that spilled over into my social life, but OHVA helped change that.”

"When a person isn't constantly bullied their focus can shift to other things, like school work, real friends and grades. Learning becomes fun. You are free to be you without anyone telling you that you are worthless."

"In concert with National Bullying Prevention Month, K12 wanted to turn the spotlight on bullying by connecting our teachers and families together to combat the problem and find solutions,” said K12 Inc. Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Margaret Jorgensen. "We are proud that K12 provides tens of thousands of students, including many who have suffered from bullying, safe and high quality education options through our innovative online schools.”

Survey Methodology
The Harris Interactive survey was conducted online within the Unites States by Harris Interactive on behalf of K12 Inc. from September 13-17, 2013 among 2,044 adults ages 18 and older, among which 412 are parents of child(ren) under 18 and 327 are parents of child(ren) of school-aged children (K-12). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

The Edge Research survey was conducted online within the Unites States by Edge Research on behalf of K12 Inc. from September 12-16, 2013 among 1,997 K12 Inc. parents of K-8 and high school students who have returned for the 2013/14 school year, among which 1,373 are parents of K-8 students and 624 are parents of high school students. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Press(at)K12(dot)com.

About K12 Inc.
K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN) is the nation’s foremost provider of proprietary technology-powered online solutions for students in pre-kindergarten through high school. K12 has partnered with more than 2,000 school districts and has delivered more than 4 million courses over the past decade. K12 provides curricula, academic services and learning solutions to public schools and districts, traditional classrooms, blended school programs and families. K12 works with more than 5,000 teachers across the U.S. – the largest network of online school teachers in grades K through 12.

The K12 program is offered through K12 partner public schools in more than two-thirds of the states and the District of Columbia, and through private schools serving students in all 50 states and more than 110 countries. More information can be found at

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Regina Lewis
K12 Inc
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