Military Schools for Youth
are Military Schools for Youth? Military Schools
are treatment programs for struggling youth in a military-style
environment. These programs typically emphasize discipline
and physical conditioning and were developed as a rigorous
alternative to longer terms of confinement in juvenile
correctional facilities. Military Schools are generally
restricted to teens with little or mild behavioral issues.
Military Schools are not an appropriate setting for teens
experiencing emotional, behavioral, substance abuse, or
The idea of “shock incarceration”
as a tough alternative to more intensive programming
brought about the establishment of military-style
boarding schools for troubled Youth.
Military Schools for Youth Effective?
Experts agree that a confrontational approach is not appropriate.
Most treatment care and military experts agree that a
confrontational model, employing tactics of intimidation
and humiliation, is counterproductive for most youth.
For youth with emotional, behavioral, substance abuse,
or learning problems-degrading tactics may be particularly
inappropriate and potentially damaging. The bullying style
and aggressive interactions that characterize the Military
Schools environment fail to model the pro-social behavior
and development of empathy that these teens really need
Positive changes demonstrated while
in Military Schools usually do not last when a teen returns
to his community. Many teens report that the
program is helpful to them and they feel more positive
about their futures. It is unclear, however, whether these
attitudinal changes persist after teens leave the Military
School, or whether they are related to actual changes
in behavior once a youth returns to his community. Without
significant therapeutic intervention while in the program,
as well as specialized aftercare following release, Military
Schools have been consistently unsuccessful in “changing”
What are the alternatives?
Youth who need some form of treatment care require an individualized
approach that takes their strengths and needs into account.
Programs and policies should be family-centered – including
the family in all decision making about a child – as well as
culturally and developmentally appropriate. Research has shown
that small, family-centered programs are more effective than
Military Schools in the long term.
Give us a call and together we can discuss
the best course of action for your child. We can be reached
any time at 1-866-490-3666.