Going online to get away from school bullies

    "He’s happier, he’ll talk to me more. This has been a really great experience for my kiddo." - Parent Heather Beaird on how the transition to an online school has been for her 14 year-old son after enduring years of bullying. (Aranda/KTUL)

    It began, says mom Heather Beaird, in second grade, but this year, the bullying of her son Garran simply became too much.

    "I could honestly not send him back, because I was afraid for his safety," she said.

    Not long after the school year started at Jenks Middle School she says, the violence became unrelenting.

    "Within the first six weeks of school, he’d been beaten up three times. That third time, we ended up in the ER with a concussion," she said.

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    "At Jenks Public Schools, safety and security of our students is always the number one priority, so any report of bullying, we take that very, very seriously," said Jenks Public Schools Communications Director Rob Loeber.

    "As much as they say they deal with the bullying, they don’t," said Beaird.

    Fed up, she decided to look at online schools and arrived at Epic.

    "He’s doing so much better. I mean, he’s more of the kid I used to remember before, especially like becoming a teenager," she said.

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    As for the academic rigor of an online school?

    "I have constant contact with his teacher; we meet up every couple of weeks. The teacher can help him if they’re getting behind," she said.

    Jenks' reaction to losing a student to a virtual classroom?

    "We want students to succeed no matter where they are. If that’s here at Jenks Public Schools, that’s great, if that’s in a virtual setting, that’s fantastic. If it's in one of our neighboring districts, we want success for all students," said Loeber.

    Seeking relief from bullying, just one of many reasons families are choosing online education.

    "This has been a really great experience for my kiddo," "said Beaird.

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