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Skylar Grubbs is an ordinary teenager who enjoys the same things many teens do – writing, drawing, and playing video games. When he was in elementary school, he looked forward to these hobbies, enjoyed school every day, and earned high-grades in his classes. But in high school this all changed. Skylar’s peers started to bully him because he is transgender. And their harassment left Skylar with little energy to focus on his studies.

“One day in PE class another student told me that I should kill myself because ‘we don’t need people like you,’” Skylar said.

After his bullies escaped punishment, Skylar’s family decided to take matters into their own hands. They enrolled him at Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville (TVAH). And today, Skylar is back to the excited student he used to be.

In online school, Skylar thrives in an environment without negative distractions. Also, he’s finally learning alongside fellow students who support him.

“I don’t have to explain to everyone why I go by a different name or am called ‘he,’” Skylar said. “It’s just off the table.”

With this peace of mind, Skylar can devote his attention to his classes and hobbies. He notes that the dedicated attention TVAH’s teachers give him prove that the switch to online school was the right decision.

The online classroom has also encouraged Skylar to revive his dream of becoming a fictional writer. He enjoys writing complex stories and creating and drawing unique characters and universes. He’s even working on ideas for several books.

Skylar’s mother Jennifer is grateful for the opportunities that her son has with online school. She says that TVAH welcomes individuality.

“He is being treated just like all the other students and receiving the education he deserves,” Jennifer said.

Skylar realizes that bullying is something that many students of all backgrounds face. He often gives advice to students in similar situations. For others who are being bullied, Skylar urges them not to keep it a secret.

“The worst thing you can do is bottle it up and hope someone sees that you need help,” he said. “You have to talk to someone and make it known or you may never get out of the situation.”

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