Local News

Program gives suspended students a chance to change

Posted October 16, 2008

— School suspensions are a reality, but one local school has a plan to keep students on track and change the behavior that got them in trouble in the first place.

When Wakefield High School students get suspended, they can go to the nearby Wakefield Family Center for the Structured Day program for tutoring, community service and social skills training.

Structured Day is designed by Haven House, a non-profit for troubled youth. Wakefield High started the program last month.

“We wanted a consistency of academic work so when they came back, they were on track with academics they missed. But, we also wanted to add a mentoring piece so that whatever they did that got them suspended, we don’t want that to happen again,” said Principal Mark Savage.

Last school year, 59 percent of Wakefield students who failed ninth grade had been suspended from school at least once. Thirty percent who failed ninth grade had been suspended at least three times, according to school officials.

The program has no funding. Wakefield Family Church provides the space, and the adults are volunteers.

“Children are really my passion,” said volunteer Trent Wilson. “I think we’re losing a lot of our children to difficult circumstances, and I’m trying to be a voice for them.”

Students suspended for violent reasons cannot ride a school bus to the program. School officials said they hope to get funding for private transportation for some of those students.

Officials say the program is seeing results.

“It made me realize that what I did was not good and that I need to keep up with my grades,” said student Genesis Lopez.

Students suspended for severe violence issues, such as gang violence, are ineligible for the program, officials said.


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  • onyourheels2 Oct 16, 2008

    why is the word "give" always associated with these people.

  • whatusay Oct 16, 2008

    We will always have under achievers, but they do not have the desire to succeed. Those who want to succeed do, those who don't care don't. We can't "MAKE" a child learn. Some are socially incapable of succeeding and they cover it up by disrupting learning for others, or they are bullies and trouble makers. Some want to be kicked out of school to keep from failing, and they blame others. For those kids who want to learn they will find a way. For those kids who don't care - they will be the welfare recipients.

  • NE Raleigh Oct 16, 2008

    These kids are like a bad stock. Why invest in a stock that yields mo benefits? Cut our losses and spend the money on the children who want to be successful. Parents will not take resposiblity for these children, so why should anyone else. It's tiring to see our dwindling valueable resources being spent on the bottom feeders.

  • MEME1180 Oct 16, 2008

    jgirl5830, dont be sorry, doesnt bother me, but it probably bothers or should bother the families who have kids bused clear cut across town. Just curious why you mentioned location

  • jgirl5830 Oct 16, 2008

    Meme1180- it is relevant because this NEVER happend at our school in the 12 yrs that it has been around, and the fact is he IS bused in from S.E. Raleigh, sorry if that bothers you, but that is where he hails from. I want to know that my child is safe, and she is on the playground with this boy every day and I don't have a good feeling about that.

  • MEME1180 Oct 16, 2008

    jgirl5830, I can understand why you would be angry, but the fact that the child lives im SE Raleigh, is that relevant, to his behavior.

  • CarolinaGirl2 Oct 16, 2008

    OrdinaryCitizen: Suspensions should be treated differently today. Send the kids home with a ton of homework and reading assignments. When they are completed they can come back. Make them earn the right to come back to school.

    I agree. Most dont care enough to complete the work so they shouldnt be allowed back. I am so sick of seeing the same kids get chance after chane. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

  • CarolinaGirl2 Oct 16, 2008

    Ill be honest a few years ago I would have been all for a program like this, but the older these kids get the more I realize these kids arent going to change. Most area product of their environment and thats where it starts, if you cant change that there is little hope IMO. There has to be a desire to change and I just dont see that with the teens in my community. This generation has no repect and they just dont care about anything. A fight used to be just that a fight, but now these kids are out to kill. Its downright scary.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Oct 16, 2008

    Suspensions should be treated differently today. Send the kids home with a ton of homework and reading assignments. When they are completed they can come back. Make them earn the right to come back to school.

  • songdemon Oct 16, 2008

    not every one who gets kicked out of school is a "troubled" kid. i got suspended indefinately in the 11th grade. Went on to get my GED and EE degree from ECU. I never had grades below A- all throughout middle and high school. I actually tested out of 12th grade english and physics so I never had to attend even 1 class. While all my friends were finishing senior year, I was freshman at ECU. So you cant say that all kids that get kicked out are "troubled". Some may be just "troubled" by having to go to school and be bored.....