Bullied Youth Turn to Homeschooling

For 14-year-old, biracial Summer Turner, school was a place of{} repeated ridicule.

"The black kids told me I wasn't black enough for them, the white kids told me I wasn't white enough for them. It was just horrible," Turner says.

And on top of that, she says, student pulled her hair. The harassment became too much for her and her mother, Penny. Two years ago, they turned to home-schooling.

"She didn't want to go to school, she cried, she had to see a counselor," Penny Turner says.

Soon after, Turner met with Debra McKeever, administrator of Homeland Christian Academy. McKeever oversees some home-schooled students in Blount, Jefferson and surrounding counties. She says, in the last five years, enrollment has spiked more than 40 percent. And bullying, she says, is one main reason.

"One little boy came in and said, 'I just don't want to be laughed at anymore,'" McKeever says.

The Turners say they understand some people believe taking a child out of school denies them the chance to deal with social problems. But they say the decision works best for them.

"I just know that I'm not being picked on every five minutes, that somebody's not being mean to me every five minutes. I can stay to myself," Summer Turner says.

McKeever says the Academy will host an anti-bullying conference in the Spring.