our everyday life

Schools for Children With Disciplinary Problems

by Elise Wile

When a child has severe disciplinary problems, it can be difficult for him to function in a mainstream classroom. Fortunately, alternatives exist for students who simply cannot learn in a typical classroom without exhibiting behavior that causes them to get reprimanded, disciplined or even expelled from school.

Alternative Schools

Many school districts across the nation have alternative schools in place for students who are unable to perform well in a traditional school environment. Sometimes these schools are only available if a student has been suspended or expelled from school. For example, large counties in Texas have JJAEP's -- Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs -- that are mandatory for students who have been expelled from school. Some school districts have alternative programs for any student in the district who applies and is accepted. These programs may offer a learning environment that is less structured than a typical classroom environment, allowing students with behavioral issues more freedom of choice -- and providing fewer opportunities for defiance.

Private Schools

While usually a student must show exemplary school performance and behavior to be accepted into a private school, this is not always the case. Some private schools exist for the sole purpose of providing an education for children who have difficulty functioning in public school. For example, Harmony Heights in Oyster Bay, N.Y., specifically serves girls who have emotional needs that cause them not to succeed in a traditional setting. While private schools serving such students can occasionally be found locally, often they are designed to be residential programs for children who do not live in the immediate area.

Special Education Programs

Sometimes a student with disciplinary problems can get the extra help she needs to succeed in the public school she is attending. Under the 2004 Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, students who qualify as having a "serious emotional disturbance" can receive special services. For example, such a student might be provided with a disciplinary plan under which she is rewarded for good behavior in ways that other students are not. In rare cases, students with emotional problems that result in severe disciplinary issues are removed to another educational setting, sometimes within the same school, such as a classroom with a special education teacher and few other students.

Online Schools

Both public and private online schools are available for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Many of these programs are free of charge. If you're unable to find a physical school setting that works for a disturbed child, these programs provide an viable alternative if adequate supervision is available at home. When enrolled in these programs, students earn credits as they would in any other school. This option may be the best one for younger children, as alternative schools are often only accessible after a child has reached his middle school years.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images