Online classroom helps victim of school bullies - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Online classroom helps victim of school bullies

Posted: Updated:
RAVENNA, Ohio -

Karena Leigh will turn 16 this summer, but already, has endured many hardships. As if it wasn't difficult enough dealing with the grief of her father's passing during her freshman year, she also became the target of a bully.

"He told me to kill myself and if i wouldn't, he'd make sure I'd be dead. He said that he would pretty much kidnap me from my house, tie me down to the railroad tracks and video tape me getting hit by a train."

It got so intense that Karena thought about taking her own life. The final straw was when her bully punched her and she did not get any support from the school's administration.

That's when Karena left her school. Now she attends school through her computer. She is enrolled in one of Ohio's nine online public schools, ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.) Karena's not alone. More and more kids are turning to this kind of learning as a safe haven from bullying.

ECOT Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Staff, Brittny Pierson explains, "Knowing that half of our students are coming for social reasons and anxiety and concerns from school, was really important we focus on how to prevent that and then also help them heal."

Karena says, "It was relieving, just to know that i didn't have to deal with all the rudeness at the school."

Pierson says that at first, students do not have any contact with each other, accept for class discussions. Eventually, parents can opt for a social component called "connect," which is closely monitored. The state also mandates that all online schools teach about cyber bullying and proper online behavior. It's important to note that not only do the victims of bullying take classes online, but bullies who have been removed from schools as well. Also, while most brick and mortar schools are powerless beyond school property, online schools are, in essence, inside a student's home. So Pierson says teachers and staff at ECOT feel an obligation to make every student feel safe and comfortable.

"We're pretty quick to notice if there's any type of negative, potential bullying within the way they're talking to each other and we try to cut it off really early."

Some people might question if going to an online classroom is avoiding the bully problem head-on. But experts say it's not a bad idea to remove the student from a bad situation so that they can focus more on their studies.

Pierson explains, "We have a full counseling staff available to families and so a lot of times what we do is for families is start communicating with the students, see what the issue is, and kind of work with the family on.. does it make sense to go back in a year because that person won't be in your classroom anymore."

Karena says she is going to continue her education online because she feels her life is finally on the right path.

"I can actually cope with depression and I am becoming a happy little thing again!"

  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • 1 of 2 Ohio plane crash victims not yet identified

    1 of 2 Ohio plane crash victims not yet identified

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:48 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:48:43 GMT
    FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio are still trying to identify one of two people killed in a weekend plane crash. One of the victims in the crash near Findlay was the CEO of an Ohio manufacturing company. A coroner was trying to identify the remains of a woman killed in the crash, but the Hancock County Sheriff's Office says DNA testing may be needed. Deputies say Ralf Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems in Bluffton, was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed early Sund...More >>
    FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in northwest Ohio are still trying to identify one of two people killed in a weekend plane crash. One of the victims in the crash near Findlay was the CEO of an Ohio manufacturing company. A coroner was trying to identify the remains of a woman killed in the crash, but the Hancock County Sheriff's Office says DNA testing may be needed. Deputies say Ralf Bronnenmeier, CEO of Grob Systems in Bluffton, was piloting the single-engine plane that crashed early Sund...More >>
  • TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    TSA finds gun, ammo in Pittsburgh airport carry-on

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:35:49 GMT
    IMPERIAL, Pa. (AP) - The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man's carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport. TSA official tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the man wasn't allowed take the gun past security, and faces up to a $11,000 civil penalty for bringing the weapon to the checkpoint. But Allegheny County police say they don't plan to charge the man with a crime because he had a license to carry the ....More >>
    IMPERIAL, Pa. (AP) - The Transportation Security Administration says it found a pistol and ammunition in man's carry-on bag as he passed through security at Pittsburgh International Airport. TSA official tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the man wasn't allowed take the gun past security, and faces up to a $11,000 civil penalty for bringing the weapon to the checkpoint. But Allegheny County police say they don't plan to charge the man with a crime because he had a license to carry the ....More >>
  • 5 Pa. reps ask NCAA to halt Penn State sanctions

    5 Pa. reps ask NCAA to halt Penn State sanctions

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:29:22 GMT
    Five Pennsylvania congressmen are asking college sports' governing body to cancel penalties against Penn State imposed as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.More >>
    Five Pennsylvania congressmen are asking college sports' governing body to cancel penalties against Penn State imposed as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms