The Juvenile Justice Alternative
Education Program (JJAEP)
The Texas Legislature established the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program in 1995 to provide basic educational services to students expelled by local districts. By keeping students in school and off the streets, the Bexar County Juvenile Justice Academy (BCJJA) serves both the interests of the local community and needs of troubled youth.
Visitors to BCJJA in east San Antonio see a clean, quiet, cheerful and safe learning environment. The typical student is between 13 and 16, although students as young as 10 may be referred to BCJJA. For the safety of students and staff, each morning begins with student searches. The school operates between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 180 days per year, and serves both breakfast and lunch. Each classroom has both a teacher and teacher's aide for every 16 students. Attendance is encouraged by the use of both positive reinforcements (contests, small prizes etc.) and negative consequences such as extended attendance hours and truancy referrals.
Students entering BCJJA need more than academic assistance and the program has continuously improved to meet those needs. Students participate in drug education and anger management sessions. BCJJA provides counseling services to every student and is available to each parent/guardian. Case managers provide individual and group support and guidance. This program is offered by Communities in Schools.
Besides the academic emphasis on English, Math, Social Studies and Science, the students participate in Physical Education and Computer Lab. A complete GED program is also available. The students have opportunities to express themselves productively through art and gardening.
The Bexar County Juvenile Board, in cooperation with local school districts, directs the BCJJA. The districts elect an advisory board, which works together with the Civil District Courts Administrator and the operational staff. Each student at BCJJA is under the supervision of a Bexar County Juvenile Probation Officer. This has truly been a cooperative arrangement, with each party contributing to the quality of BCJJA and supporting the welfare of the students as a primary goal.