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Through all the moves her family has made over the years for her dad’s job, seventh grader Savannah Forsman embraced the change and made friends easily. However, her family’s most recent relocation showed Savannah how difficult it can be when new peers aren’t accepting. After a year in a brick-and-mortar school with few friendships, Savannah turned to online school.

On her first day at her new brick-and-mortar school, Savannah smiled confidently and introduced herself to classmates, but she received only blank stares and eye rolls in return. With her parents’ encouragement, she continued to be friendly and understood that making friends can take time. However, it soon became normal for Savannah to sit alone at lunch and recess and dodge the rumors classmates spread about her. Savannah says that was the point where she “felt totally alone and didn’t know what to do, because I had always been nice to others.” Without any support from her teachers, Savannah says she started to wonder what she could do differently.

Savannah’s parents knew that returning to her school in the fall wouldn’t be good for their daughter. When they began researching other options, they found Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA). Online learning has allowed Savannah to focus on her academics without the added stress of negative influences. In just the month that Savannah has been attending online school, her mom, Tamra, says, “She is returning to the confident person she has always been.” She no longer comes home crying after feeling attacked all day at school, Tamra added.

Savannah knew online school was the right decision when she began learning as soon as she entered the classroom. Without the added stress of bullying from her peers, Savannah can focus on her studies and get the personalized support she needs from her teachers.

“Online school is so much better than feeling trapped in a place you can’t escape,” she says.

Through her experience with bullying, Savannah has learned that it’s important to get out of toxic environments and away from those who are hurting you. She understands how mean comments and physical violence from peers can really affect someone’s life and aims to always be a friend to those who need it. Savannah stresses that it’s important to tell an adult if someone is being bullied because, after all, they just need someone to care.

“The worst part of being bullied is feeling alone,” she says.

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