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Texas Online Preparatory School and Texas Virtual Academy have started the school year by taking large strides against bullying.  

The school has been using the Pacer Foundation curriculum to help teach the anti-bullying unit. “We discuss how to make the world a better place, how to treat others, and ways to cope with certain issues,” shares Laurie Tweedle, the TOPS middle school health and PE teacher. 

Along with TXVA teacher Chelsea Puchstein, Laurie has helped the two schools come together to organize a fundraiser for The Pacer Foundation.  Teachers from both schools voted on two different t-shirt designs.  Laurie explains, “We wanted the students to have a Texas K12 shirt and to tie it in to something that was an important issue.” 

The winning design features the statement “Kind is the new cool”, Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will be  donated to the Pacer Foundation. The fundraiser turned out to be very successful. While the goal of the fundraiser was to sell 50 shirts, the schools sold more than 150 tees!   

Many of the TOPS and TXVA students were victims of bullying themselves before entering online school.  According to Laurie, “Learning about situations our students have faced and how they have grown from them is one of my favorite things about being a teacher at TOPS!” 

With the help of the Pacer Foundation resources, TOPS and TXVA tie in anti-bullying themes into their health and PE classes. During PE at TXVA, Chelsea emphasizes the importance of healthy lifestyle choices such as eating right and exercising. In health class, both teachers address safety procedures, substance abuse, illnesses and how to stay well. Both schools focus on helping students understand where they can turn if they need help.   “We want students to have the knowledge to know what to do in bad or harmful real life situations that they may be faced with.,” says Laurie. 

TOPS will continue the anti-bullying campaign by holding anti-bullying assemblies in early October for students in grades 3-8.  While it is an ongoing process, the schools will continue to do all they can to make sure students are educated and put an end to bullying. 

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