After Rocky Road at School, “Imani” Starts Fresh

Imani was confident about starting high school. She had been a good student in middle school and her teachers liked her. She had a flair for the dramatic, and she was good at making her classmates laugh.

But Imani was caught off guard. Her high school was double the size of her middle school, and she had trouble fitting in. In a stricter environment, her classroom jokes were seen as misbehavior by her teachers and insults by her classmates. The tension culminated in a fight with another student. The school called the police and, after going before a judge, Imani was placed on probation.

Imani’s mother and grandmother tried to find the right supports for her. For a period, they even attempted homeschooling. But when Imani went back to her high school, she got into several more fights, until finally she found herself at an expulsion hearing.

With the help of her LCCR attorney and youth advocate, Imani was able to avoid expulsion. But in doing so, she and her defense team realized that her school just wasn’t the right fit. It was too big, too impersonal, and its approach to discipline just didn’t fit with what Imani wanted for herself, and what her family wanted for her.

With LCCR’s help, Imani was able to enroll in a smaller school that had a strong focus on community – it was important to the administration that students get along, and they worked closely with students who were struggling. When Imani wasn’t in school, her LCCR youth advocate helped her to find a summer job that ignited her curiosity and motivated her to succeed.

This spring, Imani completed tenth grade at her new school with no infractions and no time spent away from school. After class, she found an outlet for her theatrics and a place to make new friends: drama club. She completed probation successfully, and she’s moving into her junior year of high school with her court case behind her and a bright future ahead.

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