African American delinquent youth: Overcoming zero-tolerance policies and finding educational success

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Wesley C. Long
Shannon S.C. Bert


A critical need exists for research on high school failure, dropping out, and the
relationship between these actions and zero-tolerance mandates. In this article, the authors summarize the findings of a qualitative case study among seven African American male high school students at-risk of school failure who refused enrollment in alternative education. Five themes emerged in explaining their persistence in successfully obtaining a traditional high school diploma. Using statements froma qualitative interview, the article highlights the obstacles they faced and their determination to complete school in a traditional high school setting. A discussion will offer suggestions on how to successfully serve these particular students, as well as ways to advocate and support their educational needs and decisions.

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