Wafeeq Sabir, Ph.D
Throughout my career as an educator and my experiences traveling domestic and overseas, I see that many public alternative schools operate under prison-like conditions. I do not totally disagree with the discipline and structure needed in many of these schools but what our children must understand is that by attending these schools, they are subconsciously preparing themselves for prison. Due to the often ill-tempered nature of some students and those with mental health issues, administrators of alternative schools feel as if they have no other choice in the structuring of the school environment. I often tell students that because society views many of you as violent, aggressive, or out of control, you signal to society that it is okay to place you in an institution of semi-confinement when you cannot maintain self-control. Where else in our American society do we search, restrict movement and speech, and marched to and from locations, prison. I suggest too many of these students to take back their freedoms. One’s freedom should not be a privilege, it is a fundamental right. The primary way of maintaining one’s freedom is to never place yourself in situations where you have to forfeit it. I also challenge students in alternative schools to put these schools out of business by not returning.