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Frank's Story

Frank* has many friends at school and strong leadership skills. However, he frequently uses these skills to disrupt classes, creates conflict between students, and is defiant to teachers. He committed his first crime at age 12 and was on probation for drug violations, theft, arson, and stealing a car. It is common knowledge that Frank and his family are involved in shoplifting, drug use, and other petty crimes.

It would be misleading to say that Frank stopped all antisocial behavior when he enrolled in the SFS program. This did not happen. However, his problem behavior did decrease in both frequency and intensity. This success was due in large part to the adult mentorship Frank received from the SFS teacher. She gave him constant encouragement and helped him resolve problems with his family, teachers, and other students. She worked closely with the vice principal to replace ineffective school sanctions with effective alternative discipline. For example, the school typically suspended Frank for fighting, truancy, and insubordination. Because his mother worked, Frank watched TV and hung out with truant students when suspended. Knowing this, his teacher arranged for Frank to receive in-school detention in the alternative program in lieu of suspension.

Frank's teacher talked regularly with his mother to address chronic attendance issues. If Frank was absent, his mother was notified immediately. If the absence was unexcused, they developed a plan to get Frank to school. Finally, his teacher helped Frank's mother advocate for important social services for Frank such as drug and alcohol treatment, skill-building, and community service opportunities. As a result, Frank did not drop out of middle school and, at last report, attends regular high school and is off probation.

* Pseudonym


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Citation: Gaylord, V., Johnson, D.R., Lehr, C.A., Bremer, C.D. & Hasazi, S. (Eds.). (2004). Impact: Feature Issue on Achieving Secondary Education and Transition Results for Students with Disabilities, 16(3). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available from


The print design version (PDF, 671 K, 36 pp.) of this issue of Impact is also available for free, complete with the color layout and photographs. This version looks the most like the newsletter as it was printed.

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