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Kristina Mitchem is a strong girl. After coming home from school at age 5, her mother, Tina, would find massive bruises scattered across her body. These signs of attacks were evidence of the bullying Kristina was facing at her traditional brick-and-mortar school. Her first bullying experience began in kindergarten and continued through second grade.  

In order to battle this serious problem, Tina tried switching schools and speaking with the teachers and staff on the issue. Shockingly, several teachers told Tina that her daughter was “just imagining it,” and there was no real concern.  

“We were in and out of the doctor’s office every other day, and she would beg us not to make her go to school,” Tina said.  

As it turns out, it was later revealed that students were locking other children in a dark closet because they had “behaved badly,” in addition to the physical abuse.   

To this day, Kristina, now 9 years old, still battles claustrophobia; however, most of her anxiety surrounding the thought of school has dissolved. This change in attitude can be attributed to Kristina’s enrollment in North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA).  

Since starting with NCVA in 2015, Kristina is no longer afraid to learn. Within the comfortable learning environment of her own home, Kristina is able to take new interest in school topics. Currently, her favorite subject is art, where Kristina greatly enjoys working with clay.  

Overall, Kristina’s favorite part about online school is spending time with her family and knowing she’s safe. “I get to be at home with my mom and no one can hurt me,” she said.  

After seeing the success Kristina experienced with NCVA, Tina decided to also enroll her three other children – 5th grader Eve, 4th grader Jacob, and kindergartener Isabella.  

For other families in similar situations, Tina recommends considering the switch to an online education program. “NCVA is a remarkable program,” Tina said. “The school has amazing teachers that are supportive to both the student and parents involved.” 

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