Before ill-informed panic has a chance to simmer, let’s get something straight: The Columbia County Alternative School is not a criminal detention facility.
You might think otherwise, based on some comments regarding the likely move of the school to the soon-to-be-vacated Evans Elementary School site. A few people in nearby neighborhoods seem to be worried that young criminals will be on a campus right next door.
Time for a deep breath. Offenses bad enough for criminal charges typically result in them, and either get the students kicked out of school altogether – where they can hang out at home all day, right next door – or sent to an actual juvenile detention facility. Alternative School students largely are those who with disciplinary problems, not criminal rap sheets.
In addition, the school has expanded in the past year to offer graduation help for seniors who have fallen behind. The much larger, centralized Evans Elementary campus makes it increasingly attractive to bring in not just students with disciplinary troubles, but those who are struggling academically in more-traditional settings.
That’s good for them, and it’s good for Columbia County – and that, ultimately, is good for the neighbors.