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After returning to school following hip surgery, June Hernandez found herself the target of bullies who accused her of faking her injury. Soon June was isolated from those she thought were her friends, and her ability to focus on schoolwork dwindled. Now that June is enrolled in Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS), she doesn’t have to worry about rumors distracting her from learning.

The recovery period from June’s surgery required the use of a walker to get around. While she was gone from school a sixth-grade classmate started a rumor that she faked her surgery, which led to taunting from the other students. Some threw her books on the floor or moved their desks so she couldn’t get past them. They even tried stopping her from getting to her classes on time.

June’s mom, Betty, knew that something had to be done and sought alternatives for her daughter’s education. She found TOPS and made the decision to enroll, and her family hasn’t looked back.

Now excelling in her classes, June is more accomplished and involved. The seventh grader embraces the virtual classroom and takes full advantage of all that TOPS offers. An avid crafter, June joined the school’s DIY club. She also enjoys the school’s art projects –  she even built a model of an art gallery from molding clay!

June feels safe from bullying and is able to focus on her studies and interests now that she attends school online. “I can ask any question I want of my teachers and know I won’t be laughed at by others,” she says. Thanks to online learning, June’s confidence has grown and she feels more comfortable participating in her classes. June also feels that she gets more personalized attention from her teachers at TOPS than she ever got before.

With online learning, Betty no longer worries about her daughter’s safety because she knows June is free from her bullies. “She can spread her wings like a butterfly and soar every day,” she said, adding that she has also seen a positive change in June’s attitude.  “She is now smiling, happy and eager to attend class,” Betty said.

For students who may be facing bullying, June urges them to try and find a way to sort out the problem. If that doesn’t work, she says to reach out to a trusted adult who can help. Online school has given June an environment in which she can thrive, and she encourages others to find the route that best fits their learning needs.

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