Kari Borders is the principal of Douglas School, which serves students who have been expelled from their regular middle school or high school. However, she said many choose to continue to attend Douglas after their term of expulsion is complete.


I think sometimes people have a negative opinion about alternative school and the kids that get sent to these schools ("No teen left behind," June 20). I was one of those people who thought negatively, so when my son got expelled and sent to Douglas, I thought his behavior would only get worse from being around "bad" kids. I'm embarrassed to admit that, but they proved me wrong.

For this first time since he started middle school (he was in eighth grade when he got expelled), I got emails and phone calls with positive comments instead of negative. The teachers there really care about the kids. They don't just look at these kids as bad kids who are troublemakers. They uplift and go above and beyond to give these kids a positive school experience. They understand that although they might have made some bad decisions, that doesn't define them.

All kids deserve a second chance and they give them that. I will never be able to say enough good things about Douglas.

Dena Midiri



I don't pretend to have all the answers, but if the district is serious about helping students make progress at the alternative school (in whatever building that winds up being) I can suggest a few ways to expand the program before adding more students: • A school nurse on site to help kids who come to school injured, ill or feeling sick because of anxiety caused by a wide array of worries and problems, and mental health counseling services on site. • A PE teacher, so that students could at least have PE run by someone qualified, rather than getting the best effort a non-qualified classroom teacher can manage while planning and running all the other classes. (This must be possible; Douglas had a PE teacher before the position was cut.) • An art teacher, so that students could have at least some artistic expression taught by a qualified professional, rather than whatever classroom teachers can incorporate into math or language arts classes. • A music teacher (Douglas used to have an itinerant teacher who visited twice a week, but that position was cut by the district.) Again, it would be good if alternative school students could study music and maybe even learn to play a basic instrument or develop vocal skills, but they need qualified teachers to have much of a chance.

While we're dreaming big dreams, a library with a librarian would probably make a big difference for a lot of kids, too.

Don Gwinn



I am glad we have programs that focus on remediation, but I would like to see a follow-up article on how we can prevent these behaviors from taking place to begin with. When I say "we," I am referring to the community and our local government, not necessarily the school district.

If a student commits an offense egregious enough to merit expulsion, the root of that behavior began long ago, likely in early childhood. How can we better support families when children are young? We want to pave their path to success instead of an alternative placement. We want to prevent, rather than attempting to fix.

Melissa Hostetter



I could have told you Don Tracy would never make it ("Illinois GOP ousts moderate leadership," June 27). He takes every challenge in life for a title only. He does nothing to help the cause of turning Illinois around. We need strong fighters to get this Marxist way of government out of Illinois.

Karen LeSure



I hate what Trump did to the U.S., but I love what he's doing to the GOP.

Bob Disco


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