Recent school shootings and safety concerns are prompting some parents to consider online alternatives to brick and mortar schools.
Connie Krestel is a mother of four who was concerned about the security at her boys’ Snohomish County middle school. She enrolled her sons Dustin, 13, and Trevor, 12, at Washington Virtual Academies.
She cites school safety as one of her main reasons.
"You hear more and more about shootings," she said. "And we just want to protect our kids and we couldn’t afford private education."
Krestel said she was also concerned about her sons' exposure to drugs, weapons, and cursing at school.
"I feel like God has entrusted us with these children and we have to do what we think is best and I do not think that they are over-sheltered, but I think that we do want to protect them from certain things," she said.
Jeff Bush is the Head of School at Insight School of Washington, another virtual school. He said recent news stories are spurring more questions from parents.
"We are getting more inquiries in regards to questions about school safety and bullying and cyber safety," said Bush. "All parents want their children to be in a safe learning environment and I think that online can provide that."
Krestel and her boys said they enjoy the virtual classes for their convenience.
"You have more time to work on (the classwork)," said Dustin, who’s about to graduate 7th grade. He said he occasionally misses time with friends, many of whom he only sees at cross-country practice.
"We’re still socializing in different ways," said Krestle, adding the boys still play sports and hang out with friends at church groups.