The Impact of Child Physical Abuse on Academic Achievement and Behavior
In modern society, a child’s performance in school is considered an indicator of their abilities to create a successful future. Most children receive the love and support from their parents which contributes to adequate school performance. However, for children who are physically abused, school can add an incredible amount of pressure to an already stressful life. In regards to this paper, the term child physical abuse refers to the intentional acts of injury or harm to a person under the age of 18 by a parent or caregiver. These acts can be caused by and not limited to: hitting, slapping, kicking, stabbing, or burning. Krase (2011) mentions that educators and school staff must follow the policy of mandated reporting which requires them to report suspicions of child abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS) in accordance with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (p.147). While this type of reporting does bring awareness to these physically violent situations, how can our public school systems further support students who are victims of physical abuse? How can we expect the children of our society to perform well at school while they are being physically abused at home? Child physical abuse creates negative issues for the child and hinders their academic achievement and behavior at school.
The goal of this paper is to highlight the negative effects child physical abuse has on a child’s overall school experience including a decline in mental health and physical injury consequences. In addition to these effects, this paper will look at the aggressive behaviors that can develop because of child physical abuse and its relation to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. The paper will conclude with a discussion of how school staff and administration can improve the policy of mandated reporting by having support teams on campus.
Decline in Mental Health
The first 18 years of a person’s life is considered the most crucial time for development due to the rapid growth rate of the body and brain. During this time, if something interrupts the development process, major consequences could lie ahead for the person.
To study the mental health consequences brought on by child physical abuse, Springer, Sheridan, Kuo, and Carnes (2007), analyzed a survey of nearly 3000 middle aged men and women who had previously reported personal instances of child physical abuse. This survey asked questions about the severity of the abuse they endured as a child, their mental health background before and after the abuse occurred, their family background, and childhood obstacles they overcame. Springer et al. (2007) found that a majority of the participants in this study noted they had an increase in mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and anger management problems following the abuse (p.528). This study shows just how detrimental child physical abuse...