Above is a direct quote from the most recent edition of my daughter’s school newsletter, the Lapham Elementary Lookout. Parts of Madison’s Affiliated Alternatives program were moved into her K-2 school this year as a budget Band-Aid that kept Marquette and Lapham from consolidating into one large kid factory. At the time, the decision was steeped in controversy, politics, and emotion. I defaulted to the “for Affiliated Alternatives moving in” side as I vehemently opposed the consolidation option.
I like to think I’m an open-minded person, not the type of mom who’d get all freaked out about some alternative teens under the same roof as my young ‘un. I recall actually being intrigued by the idea that high school students would be attending school just one floor above my six-year-old. I know there was a moment in which I wondered why, exactly, these students needed an alternative to traditional high school, so I looked it up online. It seemed like a great program with educational options for every type of student, those who’d fallen behind in coursework, were pregnant, those who needed vocational skill training in addition to regular schoolwork, the inevitable et ceteras of adolescence. When I read the Lookout, I thought, smoking on school grounds! Tsk, tsk. Ah, well, nothing a kid couldn’t run into walking down the street. Could be worse.