More students attending online schools to avoid bullying, drugs

More students attending online schools to avoid bullying, drugs »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Peer pressure, drugs and bullying are just some of the reasons more students are getting an education without the classroom.

For a lot of students, learning online helps them escape the problems that held them back before.

Sophomore Alex Johnson says he got mixed-up with drugs and bad influences, so he enrolled at Insight School of Washington to buckle down and find his own path to success.

He says it cuts out a lot of other troubles as well.

"'It helps out with the peer pressure," Johnson said. "I've experienced absolutely none of that."

Disturbing images surfaced this week showing sixth graders brawling in their own version of Fight Club. Peer pressure fueled more than a dozen of these contests at Stuart Middle School in Tacoma.

Last month a girl came forward to complain about bullying at Bethel Junior High in Spanaway.

Jeff Bush says fighting and intimidation are just some of the reasons approximately 3,000 students attend his online school.

"Our largest part of our student body are those students who have not necessarily been successful in a traditional setting, and they are looking for another way to achieve success," Bush said.

Teachers have live discussions or record lessons so students can study when its convenient. For social interaction, Insight School offers nearly two dozen clubs and a graduation where students finally come face to face.

Whatever its shortcomings, it's a far cry from some of the troubles at traditional schools.

"Bullying. it's totally gone," Johnson said.

Insight is a public high school so it's completely free. It includes a laptop on loan, a printer, and credit toward an internet connection so students can get started.