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The Forgotten Room

Inside a Public Alternative School for At-Risk Youth

Mary Hollowell - Foreword by Ashley Bryan

Located in a rapidly-growing county in the southeastern United States, Peachtree Alternative School is a dumping ground for chronically disruptive students that regular teachers can no longer handle. The school has some of the toughest kids that society has to offer: kids who have dealt drugs, attempted rape, brought weapons to school, and made terrorist threats. Neglect, understaffing, and overcrowding create a volatile situation; Teachers survive threats, assaults, brawls, and rampages with their therapeutic philosophies barely intact. The Forgotten Room is a teacher survival story. It examines the darker side of American education through chronicling the course of Peachtree Alternative School's tenth and final year. It offers a glimmer of hope in the safe zones created by hardworking teachers, but it is also a cautionary tale about the consequences of bureaucrats neglecting troubled teens. Hollowell's multidisciplinary book provides a rare look at public alternative schooling in America. This gritty and compelling ethnography is part of a growing movement in academia to make ethnographic studies more accessible. It exposes punitive school policy, demonstrates the prison-industrial complex, and reveals school board corruption. In addition, it pinpoints quality teaching of chronically disruptive youth. As ethnographic nonfiction, The Forgotten Room breaks down the walls between social science and literature. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 230Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-3495-5 • Hardback • October 2009 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-3497-9 • eBook • October 2009 • $37.99 • (£24.95)
Mary Hollowell is associate professor of education at Clayton State University and winner of the 2010 Equity & Social Justice Advocate Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education.
Chapter 1. August
Chapter 2. September
Chapter 3. October
Chapter 4. November
Chapter 5. December
Chapter 6. January
Chapter 7. February
Chapter 8. March
Chapter 9. April
Chapter 10. May
Chapter 11 Epilogue
'The Forgotten Room' is a must read for those trying to understand why a good future starts in the classroom.
Wisconsin Bookwatch, March 2010

This book is an attempt to unwrap some of the mystery about alternative schools....The author is in an excellent position to provide insight, not only about the alternative school system but also the educational needs of and services for at-risk youth.... An interesting narrative.
CHOICE, July 2010

The author gives an almost day- by -day riveting account of her year as a substitute teacher in an alternative school in rural Georgia. We learn how "tough kids" can be treated with respect and given freedom of choice and movement by "creative compassionate, healthy adults who facilitate last-ditch learning," and it is a must-read for those of us who deplore the dehumanizing treatment of students in the rapidly growing alternative school mania.
Connie Curry, author, activist, and fellow at the Department of Women's Studies at Emory University