Profiles of Kids at Risk - Atlanta, GA
Q. G. is a 17-year-old 8th grader who has been at the AISS-CEP School for 3 years. He has been in the 8th grade the entire time. Q. was referred to AISS-CEP from King Middle School. Since attending the school, Q's grades have declined significantly, and he has made little to no academic progress. Q. has been so demoralized by the lack of educational opportunity and high levels of violence at the school that he plans to get a construction job or his GED rather than continue to attend.
M.H. is a 14-year-old 6th grader who has been sent to the AISS-CEP School twice since 2006, when he was referred from King Middle School. The second time he was referred, he did not receive a hearing or other opportunity to be heard. Although M. was a good student prior to attending AISS-CEP, he has now repeated 6th grade twice. Earlier this school year, M. received a 9-day suspension that effectively became a 10-day suspension because administrative delays at the school kept his parents from re-enrolling him in a timely manner. More recently, M. received a three day "bus suspension" along with all of the other boys on his bus route. Because his family does not own a car and cannot afford bus fare, this "bus suspension" meant M. could not attend school for those days.
M.J.H. is a 14-year-old 8th grader who was assigned to the AISS-CEP School in November 2007, but his great-grandmother, Joyce H., was told not to enroll him until after the Thanksgiving holiday. He was referred to AISS-CEP from Carson Middle School, where he played football and basketball and received good grades, for being in a fight with a group of other students. Although M. and his great-grandmother attended a tribunal hearing, they were uninformed about the process and unaware that they could call witnesses or appeal the tribunal's decision. Shortly after his assignment to the school, M. was arrested and placed in juvenile detention. Upon his release in December 2007, his great-grandmother attempted to re-enroll him at AISS-CEP but was told she needed paperwork and that he could not enroll until after January 10. After the 10th, Ms. H. was told that, because orientation was full, M. would have to wait until January 22 to enroll and that no alternative arrangements were possible. M. ultimately missed roughly two months of school because of the school's bureaucratic errors and delays.
D. J. is a 15-year-old 10th grader who has attended the AISS-CEP School since September, 2007. In August 2007, D. and his family moved to Atlanta from Blakely, Georgia, where D. attended a regular public school, got decent grades, had no major disciplinary problems, and was on the football team. Upon arrival in Atlanta, D.'s mother was prevented from enrolling him in his new neighborhood school by a series of bureaucratic delays and requirements imposed by the Atlanta Board of Education, despite her repeated efforts over the course of a month to enroll him. In September 2007, D.'s mother was informed that, because D. missed a month of school, he would have to enroll at AISS-CEP. D. never received a tribunal hearing or any other opportunity to challenge that assignment. Since attending the school, D.'s academic performance has deteriorated. He was also physically attacked by a security guard, who, after an unknown student threw a piece of paper at him, slammed D.'s head into the wall. His mother, who was not notified by the school of the injury, was forced to take him to the hospital.
T. P. is a 15-year-old 8th grader who has been at the AISS-CEP School since December, 2007. T. previously attended Harper Archer Middle School, where he was required to sign a "student contract" agreeing to abide by all school rules. In fall 2007, T. was referred to the AISS-CEP School for an alleged violation of this contract, and was informed that, under the contract, he was not entitled to a tribunal hearing challenging the referral. T. was also denied a hearing regarding the underlying contract violation. Since attending the AISS-CEP School, T. has had a difficult time progressing academically due to the chaotic environment.
J.R. is a 15-year-old 8th grader who has been at the AISS-CEP School for about two years. Prior to AISS-CEP, J. attended Parks Middle School. While at Parks, J. was detained in the juvenile justice system after a fight with her mother; when she returned to school, she was informed that she was criminally trespassing and that she had to enroll at the AISS-CEP School. The R. family did not receive any paperwork about J.'s referral to AISS-CEP, nor did she have a hearing. J. feels unsafe at the school; before she gave birth in February 2008, she was worried she would be assaulted at AISS-CEP and lose her baby.
R. W. is a 15-year-old 8th grader who was sent to the AISS-CEP School, along with his siblings J. and M., in the spring of 2007, when his family moved from Decatur, GA to Atlanta. All three had been out of school for over a month because of deaths in the family and a lack of transportation money. When they attempted to enroll in Turner Middle School, they were informed by the Atlanta Board of Education (after a several-week delay) that they would have to enroll at AISS-CEP. The W. children did not receive any hearings on the referrals, nor did they have an opportunity to appeal. Despite the fact that R. had almost completed the 8th grade at his previous school — where he played football and had decent grades — he has been made to repeat the 8th grade at AISS-CEP. In November 2007, R. was arrested and held for a month in juvenile detention. Although the charges were dropped, his grandmother was told that R. could not re-enroll until after the holidays and then later told that he could not enroll until January 22 because the school was full. On January 22, R. was not picked up by the school bus, and his grandmother was told he would have to wait until January 29 to return. As of February 14, R. had still not returned to AISS-CEP because of a mix-up related to his bus stop. R. has missed approximately two months of school as a result.
T. P. W. is a 15-year-old 10th grader who was automatically enrolled at the AISS-CEP School in October 2007, when his family moved to Atlanta from Douglasville, GA. After moving to Atlanta, P.'s mother attempted to enroll him in a regular public school, but was told he was required to attend AISS-CEP because he had previously attended an alternative school in Douglasville. P.'s mother waived his right to a tribunal hearing in Douglasville after being told he would be expelled if she did not. Since enrolling in AISS-CEP, P.'s grades have dropped significantly, and he has received out-of-school suspensions without any notice or opportunity to challenge them. The W.family has been informed that, upon his release from the school, P. will not be permitted to attend regular school but instead will have to attend another non-traditional school in the district.