Alternative school shifts to behavior problems

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 10, 2005

The Suffolk School Board on Wednesday decided to have the alternative school, which now deals with academic and behavior issues, focus on students with conduct problems. Turlington Woods will continue serving students in fourth through eighth grades.

Meanwhile, academic alternative schools will be set up in the city’s middle schools for students now attending Turlington Woods’ academic program, said assistant superintendent Janice Holland.

The alternative school has been in the news in recent weeks, since City Manager R. Steven Herbert recommending cutting $350,000, half of the $700,000 the School Board funding request for the initiative, to fund a tax cut. The council later restored part of the funding to the budget and committed to funding the balance in January.

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Initially, school leaders looked at reducing the size of the program to serve 40 students, half the number initially slated to attend the program.

Offenses considered for placement in Turlington Woods will include continued disruptive conduct, defiance of school personnel, sexual harassment, gambling, tampering with fire alarms and extinguishers, threats of intimidation or trespassing, Holland said.

Students who commit more serious offenses, such as arson, bomb threats, gang activity, weapons or threatening or assaulting staff, will continue being placed in the school division’s night alternative program.

The school system will also implement distance learning programs, similar to one used successfully in York County Public Schools, in the alternate program.