Teen turns to online learning after anti-LGBTQ bullying at school


SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) – A Northern Virginia family has found a virtual learning solution for the bullying their 14-year-old child suffered at school as a member of the LGBTQ community.

With scenes of school walkouts, contentious school board meetings and plans to cut housing for transgender students, some families have begun to weigh their options when it comes to schooling.

Kendall Tedesco’s family tried both public and private schools, but say the bullying that started years ago for being part of the LGBTQ community was just too much. She says she was insulted.

“From my memory, mostly verbal, but there were a few physical threats,” said Kendall, 14.

“I hate to use that expression, but we had a ‘boys will be boys’ moment, unfortunately,” said his mother, Gail Tedesco.

Feeling the system was failing to keep Kendall safe, the family turned to Virginia Virtual Academy, which offers online learning with a curriculum that follows state guidelines. The program also offers after-school activities and mental health resources.

“I wish we had investigated sooner,” Tedesco said. “We’re going for the free option… It’s a Virginia public school.”

So far, that’s been fine with Kendall, who is now in 8th grade. She takes classes with distinction and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society.

“Not running away from a problem, but looking for an environment where Kendall could be successful and recognizing that it’s not the same for all children,” her mother said.

The company that runs the academy is called Stride, Inc. It has partnered with 1,000 school districts and charter schools across the country.

“We live in tense and politically divided times, and often children end up being unwitting victims of adult challenges. We don’t get into the political fight. We’re trying to educate children, and I think that should be the primary focus,” said Kevin Chavous, President of Stride.

Still, he acknowledges that each case is different.

“It’s an option that’s not for everyone, but frankly it should be available to everyone,” he said.


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