Being expelled from high school in the metro-east isn't necessarily the end of a student's education. Alternative educational options are made available to most.
Both the St. Clair and Madison counties' Regional Office of Education operate "Safe Schools" for students who've been expelled. The Belleville and Edwardsville school districts operate their own alternative schools.
Some students are expelled for just one or two years, and can return to their high schools, barring further discipline problems. Others are expelled for good.
Students who finish an alternative program get their expulsion taken off their record.
"If the board has taken action to expel a student, the expulsion is held in advance pending completion of an alternative program," District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier said.
Alternative high schools in St. Clair and Madison counties include:
St. Clair County Safe School
Operated by: St. Clair County Regional Office of Education
Location: 1722 W. Main St., Belleville
Enrollment: Between 30-40 students at the start of the school year and has been as high as 75 students, said Susan Sarfaty, regional superintendent for St. Clair County. "Kids come and go all the time," she said. "We never know exactly how many (students) we are going to have."
Placement: "One of the things about Safe School is it's a second chance for kids. If they are expulsion eligible, it's their last chance until their expulsion time period expires," Sarfaty said. "It's important for kids to realize they already had an issue; they have made a mistake and broken some serious rules. Safe School is their last safety net."
She praised the teachers at the Safe School. "Our teachers are so passionate about helping these students continue on the path for earning their high school diploma," Sarfaty said. "They care so deeply about these kids. Their dedication is truly amazing."
Funding: The Safe School receives state aid per student just as traditional public schools in the state as well as a grant from the state to operate. In addition, public school districts pay a "small tuition per student per day," Sarfaty said, if a student in their district attends the Safe School. Last school year, the cost for school districts was $20 per day per student.
Madison County Safe School and Educational Therapy Center
Operated by: Madison County Regional Office of Education
Location: 201 Staunton Road, Troy
Enrollment: Both schools serve between 40-60 students in grades sixth through 12th, Regional Superintendent Robert Daiber said.
Placement: The Safe School is an option for expelled students, and the Educational Therapy Center is an option for special education students. Special-ed students who are expelled might also be sent to the Educational Therapy Center.
Alternative Day School
District: Belleville District 201
Location: Housed in a modular building on the Belleville East campus, 2555 West Blvd.
History: Program is modeled after an alternative high school operated by Edwardsville School District 7. It began in August 2012.
Enrollment: Approximately 50 students at the start of the upcoming school year.
Placement: Action must be taken by the school board after an expulsion hearing or a parent may request placement for their child into the program.
Another option: The school board can also offer the district's night school housed at Belleville West as an alternative. Approximately 150 students are served by the night school.
Edwardsville High School South
District: Edwardsville School District 7
Location: 6148 Center Grove Road, Edwardsville
History: The alternative school was established to provide an educational program to address the intellectual, physical and emotional needs of at-risk students ages 14-21.
Enrollment: Serves between 50-75 students
Placement: The placement of a District 7 student at the alternative high school involves the student, their parents and administrators and teachers at both Edwardsville High School and Edwardsville High School South.
For instance, if a student at Edwardsville High School has a habit of getting into trouble, they're sent to the alternative school, but are not expelled.
"If we see they are unwilling to live up to their share of the bargain, it's not an option -- you are going to go to South," Superintendent Ed Hightower said. "They are expected to behave and show they are responsible citizens working their way back to the mainstream high school."
James E. Williams Learning Center
District: East St. Louis District 189
Location: 401 Katherine Dunham Place, East St. Louis
Enrollment: Last year, the center served 94 students.
Placement: The center is for students who are on the verge of expulsion, according to Fred Clarke, a district official. They are referred to the alternative school by district staff members.
District: Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative.
Location: 2411 Pathways Crossing and Green Mount Road, Belleville
Enrollment: 135 kindergarten through 12th-grade students attended the school last year, and 124 students are slated to start there this school year.
Placement: BASSC Executive Director Jeff Daugherty said expelled students must have an individualized education plan, commonly referred to as an IEP, which outlines the educational goals of a student who has been found to have a disability.
"It's an option for any student with an IEP," Daugherty said of the Pathways High School, "regardless of whether they have been suspended or expelled."