A Collaborative Ending
Ron, age 16
Ron was part of Lincoln’s EXCEL program at his high school, which provided him and other special education students with alternative ways to access learning through social, emotional and behavioral interventions. In his junior year, school security and administration accused Ron of a crime, of which he denied any knowledge. The actions of the EXCEL team made the difference in what happened next.
While being questioned by security and the site administrator, Ron called members of an activist group for support. Four young men from the group soon arrived at the school and demanded a meeting to advocate on Ron’s behalf to receive due process.
Concerned about the incident and being caught "off guard" by the demand for a meeting, the site administrator met first with Lincoln’s program manager to problem-solve, then the entire Lincoln team. Together, they developed a plan to work with Ron and turn the incident into a learning opportunity. They reframed Ron’s work with the activist group as strength. Ron was encouraged to lead groups on activism and given the green light to screen a documentary about the group. Lincoln’s EXCEL team worked with Ron to invite an older member of the activist group to the classroom and led a facilitated discussion with him and the group.
A difficult incident, which could have easily escalated into a combative situation, was ultimately resolved through collaboration with the school leadership. The successful resolution hinged upon recognition by the Lincoln team of the importance of Ron’s connection with the activist group and the support they provided him. During the resolution period, a district administrator happened to be on campus one day. Ron took the opportunity to use his advocacy skills and tell him about critical resource needs for his EXCEL classroom. It wasn’t long until the school received electronic tablets for Ron’s classroom.