No Bad Kids
Leila Robbins has an insatiable love of learning. Her boundless curiosity has her catapulting between subjects almost faster than her teachers can keep up, and when flipping through a course catalog from a nearby community college, she struggles to decide on just one or two classes to enroll in.
But just a short time ago, Leila was so disengaged from traditional public school, that the former star student had become one of the 1.2 million students who drop out each year. How did it happen?
“I started believing what I was hearing,” said Leila. “That I really was a bad kid.”
Though Leila excelled in school as a young girl, she began struggling from anxiety in third grade. She begged her parents to let her stay home, or found herself visiting the school nurse, hoping for a reprieve, just for the day. But avoiding school at all costs caused Leila to struggle academically, which only fed the anxiety. As the absences piled up, Leila said she felt even the office staff at her school begin to lose patience. Absences led to detentions, which snowballed into suspensions, and by fifth grade, she was in court for being truant.
In middle school, she began seeing a therapist, but the classroom, once a place of joy and discovery for Leila, continued to trigger her mental and emotional struggles. Finally, her therapist advised her parents to remove Leila from school all together. Relieved to be free from the pressures of traditional school, Leila finally gave up.
“I didn’t make any more plans for my future,” said Leila. “I didn’t plan to have a future.”
But a break in the darkness finally came when a social worker suggested that she look into Simon Youth Academy at Rose Tree Media. Though she was skeptical to return to the the classroom environment, Leila decided to give herself one more chance at a future.
At Rose Tree Media, Leila’s love of learning was reignited. Today, Leila has made up for lost time, and is on track to graduate early. She has already begun taking classes at the Delaware County Community College, and has her sights set on a career in healing. But it’s what she has learned about herself, rather than any school subject, that is the most important lesson of all:
“There are no bad kids,” said Lelia. “Only lost ones.”
Leila, fortunately, is no longer lost, after finding a home at SYF.