Renae is a 16-year-old from Lowell, MI. She is a creative individual who spends a lot of her time reading and learning Japanese because she would like to become a Journalist in Japan.
Stereotype 4.) A lot of girls at alternative schools are pregnant or already have a kid. This stereotype started when nurseries were included into alternative high schools for adults attending night classes as well as the high school students. If you had a kid and could save money on babysitting by attending an alternative school, would you? I think most teen parents would benefit by attending a school and being in the same building as their kid. Alternative schools don’t have nurseries because all of the students have kids, some students come to the alternative schools because a lot of them have nurseries.
Stereotype 3.) Teachers are only babysitters. I put the most stress on this stereotype because this is one of the most degrading. Alternative Ed teachers work really hard to help the students they work with. In a mainstream high school there are a lot of kids attending making it crowded or overwhelming and some students just aren’t sociable. Have you ever heard of the phrase “School isn’t for everyone.” That phrase is very true. That’s why there are alternative schools that have less kids and a more hands-on learning experience. A lot of students that don’t survive mainstream schools drop out because a lack of motivation, they don’t like the people or staff, or the classes are just plain hard for them. If it really is that hard to keep students in mainstream schools then why are they still graduating from alternative schools? The teachers are key when it comes to alternative schools. They don’t babysit students, they easily motivate them because of the collegial level that staff and students can effortlessly work on.
Stereotype 2.) All kids that go to an alternative school are stupid, unintelligent people. This one is definitely false! The students that attend alternative schools are there because the mainstream schools don’t suit them, not because they aren’t capable of learning. A lot of the most creative kids end up in alternative schools because each and every student marches to his or her own beat. At mainstream high schools, everyone works at one pace. If you’re a student that’s not at that pace then you fall behind and it seems impossible to catch up again. Alternative schools help kids find their own pace while pushing forward.
Stereotype 1.) All kids that go to an alternative school do drugs. True or false? False. This is the most common stereotype of alternative students. Drugs are found everywhere and there are a lot of people who are oblivious to this fact. In the past year, there has not been a single drug bust at my alternative high school but there has been monthly dog searches at the local mainstream high school. This stereotype is the the most common and the one that programs are working the hardest to change.
Before I attended an alternative school, I was one that fell into the stereotypes. All I had ever heard about alternative programs was that everyone was on drugs and most of the girls were pregnant or already had a kid or two. This kind of scared me when I failed 9th grade becuase I knew I couldn’t stay at the mainstream high school.
I actually felt like I was brave for trying an alternative high school but after attending a few days, my perception was flipped upside down. I realized that all the kids weren’t druggies or unintelligent people. They were normal kids who liked to do normal things. Within the first few days I understood that they were more open minded then most of the students I met at the mainstream high school. They were very accepting and compassionate to my differences. They allowed me to be exctly who I was without feeling inadequate or self conscious. We all fit together like a puzzle, each of us with our own weird little quirks.
Alternative high schools aren’t always so positive, as teacher from Unity Alternative High School, John Stempien explains, “The negatives to alternative education is a continual struggle to change the perception of the local community. Unfortunately, most communities still frame alternative schools in a negative light, where stereotypes are projected through misunderstanding. A rich relationship between alternative school programs and communities is very possible, with the proper support through it’s school board, administration, staff and students”
Alternative students aren’t that much different from mainstream students and if communities were more accepting towards them, more kids would have a diploma. Changing perceptions is a very difficult task but the alternative schools aren’t giving up.
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