Setting the record straight about alternative school


Everyone has to go to school, right? Of course we do. Some students get sent to alternative school for doing something that they weren’t supposed to do. So what happens when you don’t get to see your friends, your teachers or do any of the “regular” stuff that happens at school? What really happens to kids in DAEP?

Students who are sent to DAEP have their own little “cubbies” – individual work zones with high walls to remove distractions while they work.

First things first. What IS DAEP? DAEP means Discipline Alternative Education Program. The ROISD alternative education program is located inside the school district’s police department.

Their schedule is different from all of the other schools in this district.  Alternative school starts at 7:30 a.m. and gets out at 2:30 p.m..  Before students go inside the classroom they are screened to see if they have anything they are not supposed to bring to school.

Instead of walking in the halls with their friends and talking to them, students are seated at a desk cubbie (cubicle with high walls) and are expected to be quiet and doing work on the computers. During lunch students may be allowed to listen to music or watch something, but when lunch is over they have to go back to work. Sometimes they get pulled for 7 Mindsets or circle time just to get a break. By the way, students in kindergarten through 12th grade can be sent to DAEP.

So what’s the point of sending students to DAEP instead of just suspending them, sending them home and giving them more time to think about their choices?

The goal of DAEP is for students to return to their  campus prepared to make good decisions, set goals, and achieve academically.

Some students laugh about DAEP like it’s a joke. It may even seem like students intentionally do things to get sent to DAEP – or just to get attention.

“A lot of kids tell me that they ‘love’ going to DAEP,” said eighth grader Kaleb Allbright. “They say they get to run around and do whatever they want.”

“It almost makes me want to go over there,” Allbright said.

Other students, like eighth grader Hannah Vega, have a different opinion. “I think students do it for attention,” Vega said. “They think they’re cool and ‘big and bad. That’s disappointing.”

According to Tonya Thompson, the DAEP principal for ROISD, each year over 200 students are assigned to DAEP. However, not only do most of the students leave early, but less than 10% ever return, Thompson explained.

And believe me, alternative school is no joke.

I should know. I was there.