have a special education classification of ED (U.S. Depart-
ment of Education, 2007).
in rnl correctional facilities for detained youth are
often locked facilities that house youth
tion (i.e., the process by which a i.,,.- may or may not find
a youth delinquent) (Sickmund, 2003). 1,. . ii. correctional
1 4. 14 . . for committed youth are secure care settings where
youth are confined and educated after �1,.4.t.11. a111 .n In one
year's time, delinquency results in commitment of roughly
144,000 youth to out-oi ia .... placements (Snyder & Sick-
An alternative school is "a public elementary/secondary
school that addresses needs of students that : i. 1..11: cannot
be met in regular school, provides nontraditional education,
serves as an ,lis,,, i to a i il i1 school, or falls outside the
categories of regular, special education, or vocational edu-
- .i. i..h (U.S. Department of Education (DOE), 2002, p. 55).
J~-l .,,,, ai,... concerning the number of students attending
alternative schools is limited. However, a study in which 20
states responded suggests that alternative schools serve at
least one million students (Lehr, Moreau, L..ii.. & Lanners,
One u ' I 'i- , r to student behavior is school-wide positive
behavior supports ( :' ".). Walker, Cheney, Stage, and Blum
(2005) describe PBS as a three-tiered model for ii. i . i- iiii.
early with students to prevent school failure due to social or
behavioral difficulties. The first tier aims at school-wide
prevention by setting school-wide behavioral expectations,
teaching these expectations to students, and i.- i .al. i l, stu-
dents for .liii. P ,,, to expectations. This tier prevents social
and behavioral problems in Ijli," .,, i" . 1 ,. .* . of the stu-
dent population. It also includes system-wide ' . I.. mon-
itoring to determine the . .. I . ~ . .. of prevention proce-
dures. Progress monitoring .ii.... the PBS team to make
changes to the prevention jl ,n and i.I. ni, students who
may need more intense interventions.
Walker and.... Ik. .. - (2005) also describe tiers two and
three. At tier two are those students that have not responded
favorably to school-wide pI ,a. systems and are at risk
of social or behavioral problems. This i',!' , ij Ii.. 1 15%
of the student population receives more intense interven-
tions. Secondary iai', interventions include social skills
groups, school .' m , n . Ij'."., iia . peer m .-1 iii.n,
increased in..uii.llin,. and ....,rnn <.ai 1;, and other similar
prin_.,.I- The j-i.ii iii. chronic nonresponders are the
approximately 5% who continue to struggle with social or
behavioral failures and require tier three interventions.
Interventions at this tier are individualized and necessarily
more intense. These interventions and services may include
1-,, ,i, ii behavioral assessment, development of a behav-
ior I!im,. m ;i plan, or :. . for . i education or
il..i1.-.ii l evidence shows that PBS is an .-i..i- .
approach to student behavior in regular public schools
(Sugai & Horner, :'* i .). Additionally, the few studies of
exclusionary schools also reveal promising results
(Jolivette, Kennedy, Pucket-Patterson, & Houchins, -, ,
Sidana, 2006). While the data on behavioral systems in
exclusionary schools are extremely limited, the .di ,t, nf
difficulties related to student behavior in these settings
require a practical approach that relies on the available
research. Our focus is to provide practical information to
assist pi, iii .. . in implementing PBS in an exclusionary
However, as we describe in the sections that follow,
youth in exclusionary settings face many difficulties. For
Sinil, among ..,ii n , youth, as many as two thirds of
males and three fourths of females may have a psychiatric
-i -.t i, and about half have a drug abuse problem ('1i. ill
Abram, McCi. ii . i Dulcan, & Mericle, 2002). Researchers
have written extensively about the ipij.'i an ofi j, 4.ra-i
a wide range of services to " 'i' . i the emotional and behav-
ioral growth of students in exclusionary settings (see Nel-
son, Sprague, T.il... Smith, & Tobin, in press). The
importance of ..1 1, 1 comprehensive services should be
underscored: PBS should be combined with additional ser-
vices, including such comprehensive approaches as multi-
systemic therapy (see Burns, Schoenwald, rP.in ii mi, Faw,
& Santos, :' ' Gagnon & Richards, 2008; Nelson et al., in
press). A comprehensive review of these topics is beyond
the scope of our current discussion. Rather, in the sections
that follow, we look at how PBS, a multitiered, research-
based i'',l''. Il to student behavior, has ,,. n to be an
appropriate and ..Ii... approach in both d.. .n1 i public
schools and exclusionary . i i i i
PBS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Currently, more than 6,000 schools in 37 states use PBS
( P .. ,., i,, Cobb, Sanchez, & Horner, 2007 as cited in
Read, Quinn, & Nelson, "'".', and the . I , 11, ', , . of
PBS in public schools has been the focus of a I w-... body
of research. This section describes common approaches to
student behavior in p'i.ic.' schools, the rationale for using
PBS to manage student behavior, the steps involved in
effectively inp.1.. nii.. PBS, and ways to overcome bar-
riers to implementing PBS. In later sections, we address
exclusionary school settings by .ih ,, c four main
issues: unique attributes and students in exclusionary
schools, common approaches to student behavior, PBS
research and implementation examples, and practitioner
resources. Finally, we provide methods for overcoming
barriers to '1',l 11 ni li; , of PBS in exclusionary settings
and resources for practitioners.
FOCUS ON EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
Common Approaches to Student Behavior
in Public School '-c-i;m-
In the last 25 years, many schools have adopted more
punitive I p,' ... I, . to violence prevention in public schools.
These include use of metal detectors, video surveillance,
searches, zero-tolerance policies, and other punitive behavior
management approaches (Van Acker, 2007). With these
ij , *... , infractions of school rules result in punishments
that are intended to match the severity of the rule infraction.
Schools i i_,. ..l t m! l administer these punishments rigidly and
without regard to the context of the rule infraction, especially
when schools enact zero tolerance policies. All 50 states have
enacted zero-tolerance legislation that requires suspension or
expulsion and provides for no administrator discretion in
determining i'p.*Ii...,; i I .,i m ;. 1,Ii,. ,ni for certain Ip- - of rule
infractions (e.g., weapons, drugs, threats of violence) (Yell &
Rozanski, 2000). In some cases, schools refer students to law
enforcement agencies !,.1... -!i, such rule infractions.
Although these punitive I'.I'.I" .. to managing student
behavior are popular, they are actually ineffective at prevent-
ing or reducing violent and disruptive behavior and are asso-
ciated with increased student dropout and incarceration
(Noguera, 1995; Wald & Losen, 2003; Yell & Rozanski).
The ineffectiveness of negative and reactive methods of
managing student behavior has led researchers to suggest
alternative, less coercive approaches. Leone and colleagues
:,nn, advocate the use of a " 14,,., h. ?.;-. system of
school-wide "p' ,,.i' They explain that such a system
should include a primary level of school-wide prevention,
small-group strategies for some students, and individualized
services for a select .-,,'p of students in need of intensive
support. The PBS model exemplifies such a tiered I p'.,, .. i
to prevention of problem behaviors.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) tech-
nical assistance center on positive behavior supports has pub-
lished a blueprint that provides steps that schools can follow
in ,l. '.ii,- PBS (OSEP, *" t, These i. -.include (a) form-
ing a PBS team to guide the process; (b) obtaining support
and commitment from faculty, staff, and administration; (c)
assessing the current school discipline i iP . . to determine
areas of strength and need; (d) , i. iir- and implementing an
action plan for addressing needs related to school-wide dis-
-. i-li... and (e) developing a data-collection system to mon-
itor progress and facilitate data-based decision making.
Examples of how various schools have implemented each of
these steps are provided in the .�. I.., i. section.
Forming the PBS Team
The PBS team should include a representative from each
group of stakeholders within the school setting. OSEP (2004)
suggests that this team include an administrator, teacher rep-
resentatives from each grade level or subject area, members
of the i"p."',i staff, and p' ni Schools create the PBS
team in different ways. For instance, teams may be enthusi-
astic volunteers ( .1.-.I & Eber, _,, '., Metzler, Biglan,
Rusby, & Sprague, '" i,, nominees chosen by administra-
tors, consultants, or researchers (Bohanon, et al., 2006;
Turnbull et al., 2002; Oswald, '. i, ', & Johanson, 2005), or
peer-elected representatives (Scott, _-1 I,
P . , ,il. P . of how the school forms the PBS team, it
serves a critical role in driving implementation. In some
cases, the PBS team may attend pL .(.. 1 ..o i development
activities and then disseminate h1' ..iip.,i .., to the rest of the
school staff (i i. f . 1 & Eber, 2003). The PBS team is often
I .1"'" i i., for J .1 , 'li,, school-wide behavioral expecta-
tions, plans for teaching those expectations, and plans for
1.- il, -i. i,. appropriate behavior (Bohanon et al., 2006; Net-
zel & Eber; Metzler et al., 2001; Oswald et al., 2005; Turn-
bull et al., 2002). Finally, the PBS team is instrumental in
problem solving and in 1l in_. data-based decisions (Scott,
2001; Luiselli, Putnam, Handler, & I.. i. i ,_ -i - -. Metzler
Obtaining Support and Commitment
To be effective, the PBS system must function through-
out the school day in all settings, a requirement that means
all school p" .' ln 1 must be committed to the PBS i ....
(Scott, '"" ). Support and commitment can arise through
professional development activities to ensure that school
personnel fully understand PBS and its 1', II. it... 1-..
action j.1 minir' l. - 'i (I m . Ili et al., 2005; Metzler et al.,
2001; Netzel & Eber, 2003; Oswald et al., 2005; Scott).
Another approach is to engage the entire -i.,ii in brain-
storming activities related to setting priority behavioral
i' i i'. . 1,pl mi'- teaching activities, and p,1 id.i."
reinforcement activities (Oswald et al.; Scott, Tumbull et al.,
", ',i By ..I,-iiil_ that the PBS action plan is ..i .....hk to
the staff, schools increase the ii - Irl~ . p . i that the plan will be
followed. Further, program implementation can be .,,.
moted via reinforcement of staff for helping to implement
the action plan (1 i...-. I & Eber).
A :: ,: :ii '.L the School i ,i'~,- ph ii:- Climate
Before .1. ..1 .i '.. priorities for inclusion in the action
plan, a school must determine common problem behaviors
and contexts, existing procedures for encouraging . 'p.l ' .i;-
ate behavior, and useful Il'...'i already p' . ni in the
school (Netzel & Eber, 2003). To identify existing discipline
procedures and issues, schools have used several different
assessment techniques. Formal assessment methods include
the I iI . i , Behavior 2,"p'... i Survey (Oswald et al.,
2005; Netzel & Eber) and analysis of school discipline data
such as -. i i... . -.,. ili... referrals (ODRs) (Bohanon et al.,
2006; Netzel & Eber) Less formal assessment methods
include brainstorming sessions (Scott, ' , I), interviews
with faculty and staff members (Bohanon et al.), and obser-
vations of student behavior in various school settings (Kar-
tub, Taylor-Greene, March, & Homer, 2000).
Creating and Implementing the Action Plan
After identifying common problem behaviors, the school
can begin to develop the PBS action plan, which consists of
several '"1 i The first .i, I' is to develop a short list of pos-
itively stated behavioral expectations, which focus on the
behaviors students should ..i....... in rather than on problem
behaviors (Netzel & Eber, 2003). Ti,. -. behavioral expecta-
tions may also serve as a means of 1 .1 '1.i'i- a cohesive
school culture (Turnbull et al., 2002).
The next step is to devise a plan for i. ..!.lii - behavioral
expectations to students. This plan may include i, ji;-
SI. . i lia.. i. 11 i-n - l . .ni the school, ',,. .'I1.. assembly
times to teach expectations and develop a positive school
climate, or developing lesson plans that teachers can use to
teach behavioral expectations (i...i~' "'. et al., 2006).
Instruction should focus on the contexts in which problem
behaviors commonly occur to provide students with oppor-
tunities to discriminate and practice appropriate behavior
(Turnbull et al., 2002). For instance, at one school where
hallway behavior was a problem, students were given
�. ',. i.i i ii,.. . to role-play appropriate and in i'pp' .!,i ' i..
examples of hallway behavior (Oswald et al., 2': -.).
Teaching behavioral expectations ensures that students
know how to behave appropriately, but it does not encour-
age them to do so. Therefore, the action plan must include
strategies for encouraging appropriate behaviors (Turnbull
et al., 2002). In many cases, simply changing the context in
which J' .1l 1 behaviors commonly occur can . .. ' ..
appropriate behavior (Oswald et al., '," t . For instance,
Kartub and... - I1.. - i,. - , ', ", . found that in one school, dim-
ming the lights in the i ,ii. ,.. during lunch served as a cue
to encourage quiet transitions. In another school, ,I.'i - II
the lunch schedule to reduce wait times encouraged appro-
priate behavior in the lunch line (Scott, - ', "1).
In ,, ii, i , . to , I. - n, r.1c adjustments that make contexts
more conducive to appropriate behavior, the action plan
should set out methods 1. 5'i ...f, .4. ! .. students for engaging
in appropriate behavior (Turnbull et al., -1! !-, One com-
mon technique for (,',.. i1,;', school-wide .. r'. . , , Pi is
the token economy, in which students receive tickets or
tokens for behaviors that FF. .1p(ll: school-wide expecta-
tions. Tokens or tickets are easy to administer and can be
exchanged for a variety of back-up : F... P .- ... (DuPaul,
2007). For instance, tickets have been used in - li.i.,l
drawings for various prizes, exchanged for items purchased
at a school store, and exchanged for privileges and activities
such as the opportunity to participate in a school dance
(Bohanon et al., 'c * .., Another common means of, .' 11i. -
ing appropriate behavior is through group contingencies, as
when one school provided rewards to entire classrooms con-
tingent on their table being clean at the end of lunch (Scott,
1 ., .,., ..in . and reinforcing appropriate behavior will
not prevent all behavior problems. Certain classrooms,
i," ',, . of students, or individual students may continue to
demonstrate problem behaviors. To address this issue, the
action plan should include clear consequences for rule
infractions and provisions for tiers two and three services
(Turnbull et al., 2002). Many of these more intense services
may already be available. For instance, schools may already
have group social skills programs, peer mentoring pro-
grams, or peer I .l..ii.'. programs. They may also have
access to a behavior . p . P ic l who can conduct 1 im cI-1 . ii
behavioral assessments and .1 1.- - and implement individ-
ual behavior plans. To the extent that schools do not have
such services, they will need to develop them as part of the
action plan. For instance, the team may need to plan for pro-
fessional development in classroom management for im.
:-.I n-. teachers (Luiselli et al., 2005).
Developing a Data t .,11. , ., F System
One I1 ,I t'ii of PBS is that it is not static. Rather, PBS
represents a ]'ll, .1 ..-n . 1 i ._ approach to developing effec-
tive behavior supports at varying levels of intensity. To
, i,,,i ,h, problem ..1';.i . the school must ..ii. i data to
enable the PBS team to evaluate the -. . 1 , .. of both
the action plan and specific services for particular students
(Turnbull et al., -', 1 K,
Luiselli and .ii. :'', . I"-u'.) describe an .il' ]c I 1 to
data collection using office daily I -' i (ODR) and sus-
pension information. ODR and suspension data can identify
ir li i, 1i.Il students who have received multiple behavioral
Pi:, i 1-.... and thus may need more intense services. ODR
and suspension data can also be used to track changes in the
F.... .,! instances of behavioral problems or to identify
Spi.'- � in problem behavior based on time or location. U. iil
these data, the PBS team can identify additional contexts
, .h.i lin fin, i or .lI 1, instruction in appropriate
behaviors ...Fi! in,. explicit instruction, or consider ways of
altering the action plan to provide more or less ;i..p.~i.hi
Bohanon and colleagues i 'i F, describe another approach
to data collection for program evaluation. The School-Wide
Evaluation Tool (SET) is a formal assessment instrument
that allows the team to evaluate the extent to which a school
is using critical. , .. i 'i m. ii.of PBS (Todd et al., 2003). This
information allows the team to determine areas for action
Hartsough, 1995; C.,.il Van Loan, & Barber; Wagner,
Cameto, & Guzman, 2003). The high percentage of youth
with disabilities, particularly EBD, may i .Ili a greater
emphasis on secondary and tertiary interventions than in a
typical public school.
Student mental health concerns also compound the diffi-
culties of addressing youth behavior in DTR facilities. In
addition to the high p.... .i ... of students with disabilities
in DTR, these youth fl~ .p~. ,-i ;. have comorbid special edu-
cation, i i - i f , , ii. and mental disorders, as , i
the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994;
1. -i . ..et al., 'it, ' ., For example, one study reported that
4-,. of youth in a residential program had a substance abuse
.j,. ..i. I (Leichtman, Leichtman, L. li.. i & Neese, '`'i1).
Additionally, ..* of youth in DTR have - i . i; ir. .1 some
form of abuse (Hooper, Murphy, Devaney, & Hultman,
P,.. ,. ... of appropriate services for youth in DTR will
often ,iii the collaboration of educators and other 1.,
fessionals because youth in DTR are more likely to be
involved in ii..- i.il, corrections and in foster care (Gagnon
& Leone, 2006). Greenbaum and colleagues (1996) fol-
lowed youth from DTR for seven years and noted that 1 '
were arrested at least once and '4 . were adjudicated. Youth
in DTR are also more likely to participate in ill.-.i .i: For
example, Hooper and colleagues ('"I,,, reported that
91 . of youth in DTR . i ii. .i. i.1 in individual ther-
apy. Moreover, students in DTR are also more likely to
require psychotropic pharmacology: -."- '. -", ' of youth in
DTR settings are provided psychotropic medication
(Hooper et al.; Leichtman et al., :'iil; Ryan, Reid, Gal-
lagher, & Ellis, ' T ,..,. The overlap among special educa-
tion, psychiatry, Illt.li.; probation and parole, and social
services (i.e., the foster care system) requires a ..ii Ci.,.< iti .
cross-agency pi.'.,.1,h to .1l, ..i,. maladaptive student
Common Approaches to Student Behavior
in DTR Schools
Little research I, I. l .. common approaches to student
behavior in DTR schools. However, in a study of teachers of
youth with emotional handicaps or severe emotional distur-
bance (state classifications at the time of the study), 71%
reported they were currently using a level system (i Ir. I2
Smith, & I:.i .. 11 I J1'"*. . Alevel system isI inil I as a
behavior management strategy that establishes a hierarchy
i ... . . expectations for behavioral improvement with
increasing student reinforcement and decreasing behavioral
structure. Typically, students advance through the sequence
of four or five levels, each associated with higher expecta-
tions for academic performance and social behavior, as well
as with greater student autonomy and access to more natu-
ralistic reinforcers (Kerr & Nelson, 2002, p. 189).
Level systems are commonly combined with a behav-
ioral approach termed point or token systems (Mohr &
Pumariega, 2004). The use of points or tokens is
based on operant conditioning techniques and uses behav-
ioral modification within the therapeutic milieu. The model
identifies behaviors of an individual that are maladaptive,
sets behavioral goals, and then modifies target behaviors
using positive reinforcement and other operant conditioning
techniques (Underwood et al., 2008, pp. 223-224).
Combined point and level systems are a 1 , , i rl 1, . ii . -
tive approach to youth maladaptive behavior. However,
experts have voiced concerns over the use of such systems in
light of the key components of effective PBS. For example,
critics have noted that token systems may result in the possi-
ble neglect of secondary and tertiary interventions and that
psychiatric programs may be needed to supplement generic
or universal treatment approaches with ,i,. ii . i
treatment ~.1 indi (Mohr & Pumariega, :. 1I,, In fact,
researchers reported in a study several .. " <-.., that students
who did not respond to a point and level system improved
their behavior when an i, -. Iin I ,i , . ii ,i . 1- , I M V . i .. in pro-
gram was added (Cavalier, Ferretti, & Hodges, 1997). The
itiini, of level systems to a more punitive system also
raises concerns. For example, professionals tend to rely on
punishments (i.e., administering negative consequences
designed to reduce behaviors) rather than withholding l. ini .
or privileges for inM I!I', .!i ii.. behavior (Mohr and Pumar-
iega). Although this concern may appear to be minor, the
negative ii. ., - of a punishment-based system are well doc-
umented (Small, P' ,. *1.1., O'Connor, & Cooney, ', Ii).
Another concern with point and level systems is that the
approach may not be based on a functional assessment of
student behavior with iri. i ini i f.?: based upon the
information collected (Mohr & Pumariega, '"* 1,il Particu-
larly for youth in DTR settings, who have a host of difficult
characteristics (e.g., history of abuse and neglect, lack of
stable attachments, current psychiatric disorders), a thor-
ough nir. , i nii.I I of the -ini. . .i .ii 4,ii.lii youth behav-
ior is critical (VanderVan, 1995). For example, Farrell and
... .l-..._i,. - reported that ., of youth automatically began
on the lowest level (i.e., fewest expectations and privileges)
upon entry into the program, 1 il .of individual needs.
,!,.,.!.l 1-.0 di- 72% of those using level systems provided a
single universal system with no ir h~-i.l.li..iia, Only
20.5% made some accommodations and only 6.6% reported
.1. 1..A;in. any separate systems for individual students.
VanderVan also reported a lack of consideration for individ-
ual youth mental disorders and related issues. For example,
the literature contains no . .1, I. - i, i. of necessary level sys-
tem i. it i liin . when doctors are trying new i, i. l1-..
PBS Compared to a Combined Point and Level System
intervention PBS* Point and level system**
Primary * Behavioral expectations defined * .i-.,i defined sequence of skills or performance
* Behavioral expectations taught criteria for advancement
* Reward system for appropriate behavior * General rules and , : iiI for all students
* Continuum of consequences for problem behavior and specific rules and procedures that are
* Continuous collection and use of data for responsive to group needs at each level in the
decision making system
* Basic privileges and rewards for all students
and specific additional benefits for higher levels
* Systems of intervention to inhibit or suppress
* System for continuous monitoring of performance
* System of communication for articulating program
features and procedures with students, staff,
parents, and other educators and agencies
* Clearly defined procedures for making transitions
to advanced placement or less restrictive services/
I i;. , (p. 5)
Secondary * Universal screening * Provision for differentiated environments and/or
* Progress ..- i -: i. i for at risk students materials (small groups of at risk students)
* System for increasing structure and predictability
* System for increasing contingent adult feedback
* System for linking academic and behavioral
* System for increasing home/school communication
* Collection and use of data for decision making
Tertiary * Functional behavioral assessment * Specific rules and procedures responsive to
* Team-based comprehensive assessment individual needs at each level in the system
* Linking of academic and behavior supports * Provision for differentiated environments
* Individualized intervention based on assessment and/or materials (individual students)
information focusing on * Individualized interventions, such as self-
(a) prevention of problem contexts management, should be embedded into point and
(b) instruction on functionally equivalent skills level system (Cavalier, Ferretti, & Hodges, 1997)
and instruction on desired performance skills
(c) strategies for placing problem behavior on
(d) strategies for enhancing contingence reward
of desired behavior
(e) use of negative or safety consequences if needed
* Collection and use of data for decision making
* Office of Special Education Programs, Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support. (2007). Is school-wide positive behavior
support and evidenced-based ,., r,.:. 'A research summary. Eugene, OR: Author. Used with permission. ** Braaten, S., & Ulman, J.
(2004). Level systems: C .. Iu..'..... effective and ethical systems. Arden Hills, MN: Behavior Institute for Children and Adolescents. Used
Juvenile Corrections Facilities (JCF)
Iike youth in DTR, youth in JCF have several unique and
complicated characteristics. For example, according to two
national iri -. an average of 30%-44% of youth receive
special education services, and, in some states, the rate ex-
ceeds 75% (Gagnon, Barber, & Van Loan, 2008; Quinn,
Rutherford, Leone, Osher, & i'', . i. '* ,i1 Youth in JCF
have special needs four to seven times more than youth with
�i.,lilhi., in regular public schools, and six times more
youth in JCF have ED than in regular public schools
(G - i. i. U.S. Department of Education, 't 'i, ). In fact,
approximately 20% of school-age youth with ED are arrested,
FOCUS ON EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
in detention, or on probation V.. ., i.- exiting school (Snyder &
Sickmund, 2006, Barber, & Van Loan) and -0 . of these
youth are arrested within three years of leaving school (U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 1999). The high
percentage of youth in JCF with a special education classifi-
cation brings ., i ia i 1.., i complications. For example, students
with ED are more likely than i!., -rli II ,I peers to be
depressed and anxious 0 ..' -... .,-. Barenbaum, & Pearson,
Among youth with and without disabilities in JCF, a high
I. , ni . have mental disorders. In one study, ' . of
youth involved with the juvenile justice system had a .li i.
nosed mental disorder (Garland et al., 2001), and about half
of youth involved in JCF have a substance use disorder
(Teplin et al., 2002). Other studies confirm the high per-
centage of youth with mental disorders. '-..,,..,Ii1' ,
excluding conduct disorder, two thirds of males and three
fourths of females met diagnostic criteria for one or more
.h, .... I. . (-i.... . ' & Cocozza, 2006; Teplin et al.). More-
over, a recent meta-analysis showed that, compared to youth
in the general i..l1 i;,,i youth in i. i mi. correctional
facilities were two to four times more likely to have ADHID,
that girls were two to four times more likely to have major
.1. . ia." and boys were twice as likely (Fazel, Doll, &
Youth in JCF schools may also have a high incidence of
conduct disorders, which may be particularly resistant to
intervention (Underwood et al., :", 1 : More than half of
youth have oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder
I 1 1 la11 et al., 2002). Compared to youth in the general pop-
ulation, youth in JCF were about 10 times more likely to
have conduct disorder or psychosis (Fazel et al.)
Youth in JCF commonly have serious problems with sub-
stance abuse and suicidal ideation. The percentage of youth
arrested for drug abuse violations has increased ahnost 20%
from 1993 to 2004 (Snyder, 2005). In fact, about half of
male detainees and almost half of female detainees have one
or more substance use disorders (2002; McClelland, ii ;in -
ton, Teplin, & Abram, 2004; Teplin, et al.,). Also, 1 in 10
youths in juvenile detention has had recent thoughts of sui-
cide and another 1 in 10 has attempted suicide (Teplin et al.).
A key distinction between youth involved in juvenile cor-
rections who have made a suicide attempt and those adoles-
cent suicide attempters in the general I.',,�. sil;, is that
'.nl".i." b, i. I.. two thirds of incarcerated youth attempters
used violent means (e.g., . wi,1. ..ini)..') that are more
likely to succeed, whereas about 85% of adolescents in the
general .i,! ,i.l, who iii- mjI.i suicide do so by overdose,
which has less likelihood of resulting in suicide completion
(Penn, Esposito, Schaeffer, Fritz, & Spirito, 2003). In fact,
youth in custody are three to five times more likely to com-
plete suicide than youth in the general population (Farand,
Cl....i ,-i, Renaud, & Rivard, -l4-1, C.ll.l.-hri & Dobrin,
In addition to having mental disorders, youth in JCF com-
monly experience traumatic events in their 11... For example,
many youth in juvenile corrections witness violence or are the
victims of violence. '- * ii I'., 11% of detained youth were
ii ! I . ~ .i .having j'. i i m. ,a, stress disorder (PTSD) and
about 90% of youth have witnessed someone being hurt very
badly or killed (Abram, Teplin, Charles, L. .i -- ..-l. McClel-
land, & Dulcan, 2004; Teplin et al., 2002). Shelton, _' .....
also reported that 1 . of youth have themselves sustained a
gunshot or stab wound in the previous year. Youth involved
in the i,- . iiik corrections system also have a high incidence
of abuse: of females, 70% have been -,i,. iit abused and
70% sexually abused, and of males, over o' have, . p, ,1-
enced physical abuse and ' 1 . have been sexually abused
(Evans, Alpers, Macari, & Mason, 1996). 1 h. .I1h also
reported that 35% of detained youth reported being physi-
cally abused, and I .. . reported being sexually abused.
Common Approaches to Student Behavior
in Juvenile Corrections
Regrettably, in JCF the culture of security, control, and
punishment often prevails over research on effective
approaches to student behavior (Barton & Butts, ,' , I Nel-
son, Sugai, & Smith, 2005). Youth with and without disabil-
ities in in mi. corrections must be actively , - ,I .1 in the
learning process. However, the attitude held by many in cor-
rections is that confinement should not be a positive experi-
ence where .i',', -..i'p; ,. behaviors are . , - I..,- , i (! i. I -. et
al., 2005); rather, isolation and exclusion ., .1, . a,1 li. as the
reaction to in ..nil misbehavior. Exclusionary '!.'p ..I..
however, do not improve student behavior (Sailor, Stowe,
Turnbull, & Kleinhammer-Tramill, 2007). Unfortunately,
n, ;d i S, 1 studies that target student i 1a �1i .- i; behavior in
JCF seem to be nonexistent. A search of behavioral inter-
ventions and juvenile corrections in the P1; .. 1h 11 database
revealed no peer reviewed published research. Given the
complex characteristics of youth, the lack of research on
behavioral supports for these youth is disturbing.
Although information is insufficient concerning behav-
ioral interventions for youth in JCF, some evidence shows
that youth may have access to 1. . Iv - I "in r, ..1.. -i treat-
ment. In a study of a Department of Juvenile Probation res-
idential ;pi_ _i.,i Ryan and * l.. .li- 1' l,, .. reported that
94% of youth were receiving medication.
PBS Research in Juvenile Corrections
Despite the . . i.l11 dearth of information concerning stu-
dent behavior in JCF, a few studies have focused on the
implementation of PBS in JCF. In contrast to the usual
harsh, punitive, and reactionary iqq'. .. i. . to student
behavior in JCF schools, PBS provides a more coordinated,
proactive, and positive approach (1i', i et al., ',','.'
Although PBS is being used in 286 alternative and ii , 14il.
correctional schools (Danielson et al.,, 2007 as cited in Read
et al., _"-' .. , only two reports describing PBS implementa-
tion are available (Sidana, 2006). The two reports' examples
do not I, 1- Il the numerous considerations and details that
effective PBS implementation must address (e.g., modifica-
tion of behavioral i. Li.i iiili based on analysis of behav-
ioral data). However, some examples do show that PBS is an
ii. .� .1 . ,i . l' to student behavior in JCF.
Sidana (2006) reported on The Illinois Youth Center's
(IYC) implementation of PBS at the Harrisburg boys'
prison. The universal interventions included providing tick-
ets to youth for 4ia'l'i'", ii behavior-students could
exchange tickets for tangible and activity reinforcement.
The system also included both secondary and tertiary inter-
ventions. For example, youth had access to mentors as a sec-
ondary intervention, and had tertiary interventions based on
the .i . ii..( i- student's need. The implementation of PBS
resulted in a decline in minor and major infractions at the
school, and physical altercations among students i. i,. i
from 32 per month to zero in three years.
Sidana ( ' '., also summarized implementation of PBS at
The Iowa Juvenile Home (1JH), where the school-wide be-
havioral program provided youth with courage -:; - that
could be earned by meeting personal goals and school expec-
tations. The administrators also retained the school plan that
provided negative consequences for ii lii ..,!i behavioral
i, I, ,, .,i- . Results showed that following PBS implementa-
tion, student seclusion and restraint. -,, II, I by 73%, and the
I .. .. rate of disciplinary removals declined by ,, .
The U.S. has about 10,000 secondary alternative schools
(Market Data Retrieval personal communication, 2007).
The schools and the students served in them vary widely.
However, among the most common reasons for youth
enrollment in alternative schools are social-emotional " .1. '
lems, truancy, home referrals, and verbal and physical
.... ... ~ ,i. (Foley & P'. . 2006; Kleiner, Porch, & Ferris,
2002). We also know that, although youth can be placed in
an alternative school as an interim j .1 . 1 ni lasting just 45
days (see IDEIA, 2006, C.FR. 71. 3( ,,, *, a I, ,i..1ii of
youth are enrolled for seven months or more (Lehr et al.,
',<',' Ai, ., dii0, Grunbaum and .ii. .,- . m ( ''-- , iden-
tified that, of students in alternative schools, in the 30 days
preceding the survey, 32.' . had carried a weapon, . ,- had
.i..i....l in heavy drinking of alcohol, 53% had used mari-
iw .. < and 15% had used cocaine. Moreover, 25% had con-
sidered suicide and I. . had attempted suicide. These
researchers also noted that the prevalence of most risk
behavior was *ii iii...l l; higher .II, -i youth in alterna-
tive schools than youth in the general population. Compared
to other adolescents, youth in alternative schools are three
times more likely to commit acts of vandalism, assault, or
il "i'i i _ii]- and twice as likely to be involved in a ..,i.
(i o,,. . ,. Harrison, & Hedger, 1998). Moreover, about
22% of alternative school students have been involved with
a law enforcement agency (Davis, Brutsaert-Durant, & Lee,
Available ,ir, ..1m Ii .q? also reveals that a high percentage
of youth in alternative schools are classified with a disability.
Researchers (Gorney & Ysseldyke, 1993; Kleiner, Porch, &
Farris, L-W ",1 have reported that 12%--'c - of students in
alternative schools are classified as having a disability and as
many as -,, .1 . are , I I il,- as ED (Gorney &
Ysseldyke; Quinn & Poirier, 2006; Swarts, 2004). About
another 1 I- . of students are classified with learning disabil-
ities, ADD, and ADHD (1i ,1. . & P r- . 2006).
Common Approaches to Student Behavior
in Alternative Schools
Many consider an alternative school to be a last chance
IIa i to i. 1 - troubled youth in school and p '. Ii them
from .J .ppi:. out of school (W' i, 1 .1. 1'-'64 Although the
characteristics of alternative schools and how they approach
student behavior remain largely unknown, some evidence
suggests that these schools have a great deal of freedom and
rely on site-based management to operate off-campus facil-
ities (Foley & P., , _ , ,-., Alternative schools commonly
provide environmental variations in an attempt to support
students; i.ljii i. ii . may include small class and school
size, a low student-teacher ratio, and varied schedules and
hours of operation (Lehr & Lange, 2003). Fewer than one-
third of alternative schools actively involve parents, but
other p.1.f rI. i 1 support is more common (e.g., social
workers, counselors, 1' "'p q '.- ."' i school nurses,
school psychologists, vocational educators) (Foley & P..i.i'
That a variety of iii. i.. i, may be involved in support-
ing youth in alternative schools is i .. ,, 14 1 -; -i but less than
half of the schools include coordinated wraparound ser-
vices, which is of concern (Foley & P..I, _
PBS Research in Alternative Schools
Currently, no published empirical studies have addressed
the issue of implementing PBS in alternative schools. How-
ever, the ii. I . .- - of PBS for troubled youth in regular
public schools and in JCF and the common characteristics of
youth across exclusionary settings make a strong case for
using PBS in alternative schools. Exclusionary schools are
complex, and .i(.-;i, li;,, of PBS to alternative school set-
tings will require cross-agency collaboration to ensure that
the '1 m _in . implementation, and data-based modification
To provide the three tiers of services included within
PBS, schools need both funding and resources (OSEP,
'*1 - .,pi Pli ,,,,, teams may use existing school and district
resources (Turnbull et al., 2002). For instance, school guid-
ance counselors may already provide many small group
interventions such as social skills '.4, -._1 ,1 .m School districts
may already employ behavior specialists, social workers,
and mental health counselors, who can help I.,1.1' indi-
vidualized interventions at tier three of PBS. In some
schools, parent-teacher organizations may be able to fund
reward systems. If funding cannot be obtained, free time or
extended lunch time can be used as a low-cost reward as part
of a group contingency (Scott, 2001).
Iow income schools face several additional challenges
(Turnbull et al., 2002). FVimli,- may be more difficult to
obtain and more students may need costly tier two and three
services. These schools may need to obtain additional fund-
ing and l*,'i'",i from the school district. School districts
should be willing to provide short-term ).wim, . for PBS,
because PBS reduces the numbers of students requiring tier
two and three services (Turnbull et al.), increases academic
achievement (Iassen et al., 2006; Luiselli et al., 2005;
McIntosh et al., 2006), and frees up instructional time (Scott
& Barrett, ',, I, Over time, school-wide PBS thus has the
potential to save money by reducing the need for costly aca-
demic and behavioral interventions.
Overcoming Barriers in Exclusionary St Hii ;l-
High Percentage of Youth With Disabilities
The high percentage of youth with disabilities, particu-
larly those with ED, can profoundly affect the implementa-
tion of PBS and the need for additional services. For exam-
ple, in a typical school 80% of the student population
requires universal intervention, approximately i ' of the
student p,..,id li;,.ii receives . ...i , n, t . interventions, and
about 5% need individualized tertiary interventions (Walker
et al., 2005). In contrast, Nelson and Quinn (2007) reported
on a JCF where about 2 1' of youth needed only universal
interventions, while - . required .....i !- and 53%
needed tertiary interventions. In a residential school, these
researchers also noted that a high percentage of youth needed
secondary or tertiary interventions. -.p . ,ii .,iir 25% required
.... ,d i.- interventions and 21%% needed tertiary interven-
tions. The high percentage of youth 11. i;.. i secondary and
tertiary interventions can place a strain on teachers and
Several considerations can address the fact that a high
percentage of youth have I.. i It needs. First, while a high
percentage may require secondary or tertiary interventions,
not all youth in exclusionary settings need these levels of
intervention. Rather, all levels of PBS should be available to
youth, with the level of support to any student resulting from
a data-based d .; . 1 1 iS.i process ( i. ! , :.. ...
Gagnon, Jolivette, & 2" .p." 2008; Scott et al., 2002). Pri-
mary prevention is important, for -- i, .., i primary interven-
tion, the number of students requiring secondary and tertiary
strategies likely will tax i 4i .1 intervention resources
beyond capacity" (Scott et al., p. 537). However, a high per-
S..-hi.,. of youth in exclusionary settings have significant
behavioral needs, and more staff support may be needed than
in typical schools. Administrators in exclusionary settings
must recognize the demands PBS places on educators and
other staff (e.g., corrections officers) and provide the neces-
sary support, such as a PBS facility ..... i ,, i i (i'. ,I et al.,
'1 .' ., Moreover, staff must understand how PBS or its com-
ponents will ipli mi other less effective and less efficient
approaches (Read et al.). To reduce the impact on staff,
researchers also recommend (I',I. .. implementation
where, for . . midl, the i.'' -i 11 could initially be imple-
mented solely in a facility's school (Nelson et al., 2005).
Youth Mental Disorders
The high I, , -. ii , - , of youth in exclusionary settings
with mental disorders, at risk for suicide, drug abuse, history
of abuse, and exposure to violence creates a clear need for
supports in addition to PBS, 1,: inl,- - (a) appropriate mental
health and drug abuse screening and (b) access to 1, ,i " ,,
and ongoing research-based mental health services that
include ;.,lil i..- (Skowryra & Cocozza, 2006). In particular,
comprehensive mental health screening upon entry into a
program often receives insufficient attention (The President's
New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, ' 'i -,).
A comprehensive description of research-based approaches
to addressing student mental health needs is beyond the scope
of our current discussion. However, we would like to mention
four approaches that could complement PBS, given the char-
acteristics of youth in DTR, JCF, and alternative school set-
tings: (a) cognitive behavioral interventions, (b) psychophar-
macologic treatment, (c) multiagency collaboration, and (d)
merging PBS with existing behavioral programs.
C.. �-liii- .. behavioral interventions are particularly help-
ful: "Cognitive b. ij ,.' ?.., i, . -, ...i is based on the propo-
sition that inner . .. I mediates behavior and that, by using
language to alter cognition, behavior can change" (C ,.i ..
& Mayer, -I',4, p. 9). The underlying premise is that
improvements in appropriate behavior will occur upon (a)
correction of errors in t1iiI in-. (b) reduction of deficits in
social information-processing skills, and (c) improvements
in - a i il.,i , ., , i.hi .1 II._ and ia,.,I.I..i- their own behavior
(Gerber & Solari, 2005; Guerra, i... .. & Kim, 2005). A
cognitive behavioral ' .1.w' . I is 1f. f for individual
youth and their families (Hoagwood, Burns, Kiser,
FOCUS ON EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
Ringeisen, & Schoenwald, ' s 1), and evidence suggests
that .... ,.. i,:, which includes components such as anger
management, social skills iih ,iinr and career training, is
effective in I...1n.. in. recidivism into the juvenile corrections
system (Kadish, Glaser, Calhoun, & Risler, 1999).
The combination of cognitive and behavioral interven-
tions is also effective for youth with drug abuse ,, .1 ,,
although effective intervention for youth drug-abuse disor-
ders should address iil iii i.l- areas including problems with
school, peers, and family as well as elements of relapse pre-
vention (Dowden, 2003). Other elements are also i'4 1,i mi
to effective substance abuse programs, including (a) treat-
ment for at least one year, (b) family involvement, (c) life
skills and abstinence i: ;,I;I. and (d) .in. .. . that includes
h. I, l iand Ipi''ii groups (Larson & Turner, ''" I ',
Youth with combinations of disorders, such as disruptive
*i . .i.. i � with comorbid depression or anxiety, may also gar-
ner , - PII ,. -Ii benefit from cognitive behavioral approaches
(Forness, '*1*:>. 'I p, . ,II youth can be reinforced for
, in, certain techniques that address problem behavior, such
as pj .bli- i -.-1. ii. procedures. Teaching cognitive strategies
in combination with. f, i ,, behavioral contingencies
decreases such behaviors as hyperactivity/impulsivity and
�.6 mp!.>ii.n ._-.._.. ;iin and increases the 1i ...iii.. . of more
prosocial behavior (Smith, Lochman, & Daunic, I' , -.).
Some evidence I, . that teachers can support coun-
selors and c ... 1..l... i in r1 i,1,. ; i-. cognitive-behavior
interventions for youth with depressive disorder (Maag &
Swearer, 2005). For example, teachers trained in cogni-
tive-behavior interventions such as problem-solving or self-
monitoring could help youth who have, ih l. ,i i . with t1.
ative self-statements. Students can be prompted to use
particular problem-solving strategies and be -. illi... ..I for
using them, as well as for recognizing and altering negative
t. I i i 1i1 in
P ..il, I.,!. i....1..';.. treatment is another important ter-
tiary approach to assisting some youth. While PBS has the
potential to greatly improve student behavior, for some youth,
combined '. 1..'i'1, , ......' . treatment and behavioral
interventions can result in even greater behavioral and acade-
mic gains (Forness, 2003; Forness, Kavale, & Davanzo, 2002).
P ... 1: ..i, :.. i: . . .i. ;, treatment may be particularly .- ii :i:i in
cases where youth do not . * .. 1 to behavioral interventions
(Forness et al.). In fact, for many youth with mental disorders
such as ADHD, psychotropic medications are related to
improvements in educational achievement (i: : ri - : '., Katu-
sic, Colligan, Weaver, & Jacobsen, :"' . '). Combined ,i. i,
tion and cognitive-behavioral treatment for youth with
ADHD, depression, and anxiety have resulted in the greatest
behavioral gains (i .. :'. Freeman, & Paparella, ''",I . ,
However, the decision to I',. ' ,i' medication for a
youth carries certain concerns that require I,..nii.!hin..
including ., ..Ii .. side effects, inadequately trained physi-
cians, variability in .. i, , ii , direct marketing of pharma-
ceuticals, and '-ip '1, . diagnostic. II m , " (Forness et al.,
2006, p. 292). Moreover, additional research is needed to
support the .- '..i - ... . * of psychopharmacologic treat-
ment, and when making comparisons between rp ,h 'r '1, i
macologic and nonmedication treatments, some researchers
express methodological concerns for nonmedication inter-
ventions that assess the impact on academic achievement of
youth with ADHD i ....'i Linemann, Reid, & Epstein,
2007). Additional concerns exist ,. , ,li',. the extent to
which teachers and other nonmedical professionals can or
should be involved in medication management. However,
teachers commonly and appropriately play an active role by
I',, i.li,, information regarding medication It,, , to
physicians (Ryan, Reid, & Ellis, 2008).
IuI, hi 1,. Agency Collaboration
Youth involvement with a number of agencies may com-
plicate the PBS implementation and provision of support ser-
vices for youth in DTR, JCE and alternative school settings
(i ii . ., et al., 2005). For example, youth in JCF often need a
broad :i r. of services and interagency collaborative 11, iiI.
that include the exclusionary school facility, iI ..i.. court,
public school, mental health, the family, and other services
(Houchins, T, .i,.. ., Wi .c-, i ,1 McGlynn, & Nelson, 2005).
PBS is likely to be unsuccessful if the pi -,I 11 .I .i, solely on
the understanding of a few special educators (Gerber & Solari,
2005). Collaboration is particularly important, as pi- ', ' . i, 'i.i
from various organizations (e.g., secure-care staff) may have
goals and P11 -I ''.. P that are contrary to PBS, such as a sole
focus on control and punishment of student behavior.
To address concerns regarding insufficient multiagency
collaboration, professionals across agencies must develop a
common p 1li.. .- Ii . :. shared priorities; consistent approaches
to treatment; a common language; and a commitment to
research-based, positive, and proactive approaches to stu-
dent behavior i'. P, et al., ', I,'., , ., iL .., I ii; to maintain
fidelity of PBS implementation despite staff turnover, 1 , it
cities should formally adopt behavioral policies and proce-
dures that align with the PBS model (Jolivette et al., 2-, " 0
For example, one regular school . i-, iP . -i its procedures in a
Procedures and Protocol I m.I ..... I ( l i. I . ..1, 2005). . P.
tionally, ensuring individual accountability for 1.,t1.- I"P
PBS procedures will support appropriate implementation
( i. i- et al.).
Wraparound and Integrated Systems
The wraparound planning process rests on a system of
care or community-based Ij 'p *'. I 1 to providing . ri, I 11
sive and integrated services :li i..-i multiple 1,:', . 1n PI.
FOCUS ON EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
example, a PBS model must integrate specific policies and
procedures of the Department of Corrections (DOC) to
maintain safety and security in JCF. However, i.,.-.,i 11
components that are I.. ....1 with PBS, such as DOC behav-
ioral plans designed to ensure safety, must be grounded in
research-based approaches and not focus solely on punitive
responses to student behavior.
Difficulties with m,. .. ii . PBS and other behavioral pro-
grams may exist with facility settings outside of the class-
room, such as living units (Jolivette et al., ' U n'.I Unfortu-
nately, iill research concerns the use of PBS outside of the
classroom environment at the secondary level, especially in
exclusionary settings. Yet, in the research that does exist,
researchers stress the importance of progressive implemen-
tation across .: , Iil settings and cross-training profession-
als to assist in nonclassroom implementation of PBS
(Jolivette et al.).
The extent to which DTR, JCF, and alternative schools
use a form of i'. .;ii Im1 level system to promote positive stu-
dent behavior is relatively unknown. Many criticisms of
level systems relate to a lack of individualized or tertiary
interventions, as well as the need for cognitive interventions
that teach new or replacement behaviors to students (Johns,
Crowley, & Guetzloe, 2002; Scheuermann & Webber,
1996). However, a point system and level system have the
potential to be a behavioral framework combined with PBS
if these and other u. i. . 1 . noted concerns are addressed.
The implementation of PBS in exclusionary school set-
tings needs additional research. Also, a need continues for
research to ilhir the extent to which any subcomponent
of PBS provides added benefit and to focus on secondary
interventions for students in a variety of educational place-
ments (Forness, 2005). However, given the number of youth
currently served in exclusionary *.-iiil- ri...i.
requires that implementation of PBS begin, and that we rely
on ii. . f aiir i .
positive, proactive, consistently implemented, and compre-
hensive plan to promote positive student behavior.
In light of the unique characteristics of youth in DTR,
JCF, and alternative schools, we must recognize the need to
combine PBS with a range of highly individualized inter-
ventions, such as mental health services, cognitive behav-
ioral interventions, and r, , Ih ,! 111 , i . , 4; treatment.
Moreover, Il . i, '.ii .'ii for youth will I. .,i;r cross-
agency collaboration, assurances of treatment/behavioral
plan implementation l i. i frequent .. II.. . i I and use of
behavioral data, and ongoing and comprehensive staff
training. Practically I" 1 i iniipl 1, ai ,i;l , should begin
with small ih ...I that are likely to produce positive and
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ins, D. E. (2008). Implementing a two-phase 24/7 SW-
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