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Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) seventh grader Jackson, who is on the autism spectrum, often struggled to fit in with his peers at his brick-and-mortar school. On the playground, Jackson’s classmates didn’t want him to join their teams. And one of them threw Jackson down to the ground and dragged him around by his jacket. Jackson’s mom, Julie, knew her son needed a change of environment. That’s when she enrolled him in online school.

Now at TOPS, Jackson excels in his studies and is not letting the bullies of his past hold him back. Thanks to the online classroom, Jackson realizes how much he enjoys learning. For example, he loves his science class so much so that he studies outer space in his spare time. “Online school is the best thing that could’ve happened to me,” Jackson said. “I’m excited to attend class every day.”

When he is not studying space or keeping up with current events, Jackson enjoys playing with Legos, swimming, and playing golf. He says he has more time to build on these interests and hobbies because online school helps him complete his coursework in a more efficient way. For students who are facing bullying in their school, Jackson urges them to tell an adult so that they can try to get the help they need.

Not only is he excelling inside the classroom, but he’s growing outside the classroom too. Julie says, “Jackson’s self-confidence has blown off the charts,” since enrolling in TOPS. Attending school online has also helped him learn valuable life skills, such as organization and time management—two things that can be a struggle for a person on the spectrum, Julie added.

Julie says she’s grateful for the opportunities that TOPS has given her son and their entire family. “I think the most meaningful difference for me is knowing that my child is safe,” she said.

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