Stephens County Youth Services shutdown impacts DPS students

(Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO)

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Duncan Public Schools is hoping to find new resources to replace their CRC program. Its called Crisis Resource Center and it provided an alternative to suspension and counseling services for students at the middle school. The service was provided by the Stephens County Youth Services, but last week they closed their doors indefinitely.

When it comes to suspending students they have to go back to their old way of doing things. If students got in trouble they could come to the Youth Services Center to get help, but now that it was closed due to state budget cuts the school is hoping to find a similar program for students.

"What are we going to do to help these kids next because they provided such a great service for our community and I hate to lose that for our kids," said Hampton.

Duncan Middle School Principal Wade Hampton was disappointed to hear that the Stephens County Youth Services closed for good.

"We used it quite a bit for some of our kids that were in crisis as suspension reduction program, so they were able to go down there and get breakfast every morning, they were able to get counseling services, homework help," said Hampton.

In addition to those services students who didn't have a ride were provided with transportation to the center. Hampton said, the counselors gave students attention away from home and boosted their confidence.

"Counseling is so unique and individual to the particular student that we may or may not someone at school that meets their needs so to have that now non-existent for our kids is a tragedy for the community I think," said Hampton.

Hampton said about 85 percent of students who went through the CRC program came back to school with a new attitude, and they showed improvement in their grades which we don't necessarily see when kids are suspended.

"We also had kids come to us telling us well I really liked the counselors down there can we have them come to school and help us here," said Hampton.

While they are not huge fans of their old suspension protocol Duncan middle school officials are struggling and trying to find new resources within the district that could maybe replace some of those resources.

"But with the state funding the way it is for education it's going to be really tough for us to do and we really need that back if we can get it," said Hampton.

Youth Services also provided help for juveniles at the high school through the Community Intervention Program known as CIC. If they got in trouble at school and were taken into custody by the Duncan Police Department, officers would take them to the Center and a parent would have to pick them up.

An officer said they are trying to find another option for those students, but for now they will have to house them at the police department until they contact their parents to pick them up.

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