How teens view alternative schools

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Lake View High School

Michael Reyes, junior: If you send a bunch of troublemakers to a troublemaker school, they’ll feel low-class; it’ll bring their self-esteem down, and then they’ll just cause more trouble. But for dropouts, they should always get another chance.

Adrian Medina, junior: Without troublemakers there’ll be less fights and less problems [and] you’ll be able to learn better ’cause you don’t always have to look over your shoulder. It might be better for dropouts, too, ’cause they’ll be in a different environment.

Eduardo Herrera, sophomore: The idea is good for both [disruptive students and dropouts] because they’ll be able to graduate. They should take the whole gang out of the high school so there’ll be more peace and less fights. … Well, will there be girls there? Then it’s OK.

Clemente High School

Raymond Lopez, junior: It’s a good idea. I was kicked out for gangbanging, and I want to go to school, and they won’t send me to their [Clemente’s own] alternative school.

Calvin Lewis, freshman: It’s not a good idea. There’s some reason they’re troublemakers, and alternative schools won’t help. But it will help the regular kids.

Griselda Quezada, freshman: It’s a good idea; then you wouldn’t be afraid of going outside and being hit. And dropouts won’t be out in the streets doing bad things.

Veronica Villalobos, sophomore: School is made for people who want to study, not people who want to make trouble.

Prologue Alternative High

Tabitha Gold: If they’re causing trouble there, they’ll cause just as much here; then the kids who want to learn at the alternative school won’t be able to. And with dropouts, you can’t make someone learn if they don’t want to.

Alex Perez: They don’t have a choice, and if they don’t like it, they won’t go and then they won’t be going to either place. Regular kids and dropouts will do better, but I still don’t think it’s a good idea.

Whitney Young Magnet High School

Rosa Washington, junior: Labeling kids as dumb won’t eliminate the problem; it’ll create a bigger one. The problem is not the kids themselves; it’s bigger than that. They should start when the kids first go to school and put them in different, special classes.

Catherine Herzenberg, junior: This isn’t good. They’ll be treated differently, they won’t get a good education. The schools probably won’t get funding from the board. And dropouts are just gonna drop out anyway.