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Before educators can assess the problems associated with being at risk of academic failure, they must understand what is occurring in the lives of at-risk students. The focus of this study was the school lives of 15 high school students. Data were gathered from student observations, informal interviews, document analysis, and journal entries to identify the factors that contributed to being at risk. Students complained about the inconsistency of school rules, especially those related to tardiness and eating in school, and they noted the double standard that allowed teachers to do many things students were not allowed to do. They voiced concerns that they were never given a say about anything in the school, expressing the belief that all the rules originated with teachers and staff, and that student input was not solicited. When they did express opinions about school, they thought that their comments were not taken seriously. Suggestions for improving the educational environment for at-risk students begin with providing opportunities for students to express their opinions and contribute to the operation of the school. (Contains four references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Educational Environment, Educational Improvement, High Risk Students, High School Students, High Schools, Participative Decision Making, Student Attitudes, Student Empowerment, Student Participation

Autor: Britt, Patricia M.


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