Webster teacher Randall Padek supervises TRAICE students as they head to lunch. Students in TRAICE must wear orange construction vests to identify themselves and eat at a different time than their peers. PHOTO BY KEAUCHA WILSON
By Brad Bain, Cassie Hale, Rebecca Mallard and Keaucha Wilson
Webster teacher Maurice Johnson said TRAICE is a place where students can learn from their mistakes.
“Most of the worst students are the ones not wanting to work and learn from their mistakes,” said Johnson, who also teaches world history, African-American history and economics at Webster.
TRAICE — which stands for Tulsa Resource and Adolescent Intervention Centers of Excellence — is where students are sent when they are past the point of a discipline card, but their actions do not require a suspension.
Johnson said students come into TRAICE, and 40 percent of them leave changed.
“There are times even when some good students have bad days,” Johnson said.
Randall Padek, who teaches environmental science and biology, is also a TRAICE teacher at Daniel Webster Broadcasting and Digital Media Magnet High School.
Padek said some of the students coming into TRAICE surprise him.
He said most students are in TRAICE for not following teachers’ directions or for being tardy to class.
“It helps the teacher when TRAICE is a place students don’t want to visit,” Padek said.
TRAICE students wear orange construction vests to identify themselves.
They have to arrive first thing in the morning just like a normal class.
They sit quietly in a room, isolated from their peers and usual teachers.
For lunch, they must eat a sack lunch containing only a single ham and cheese sandwich, milk and a piece of fruit, Padek said.
“I do think that they are treated fairly,” Padek said. “The reason they wear the vests is to isolate them as a student and to show others that they must re-learn the rules. The same goes for the sack lunches.”
Some students disagree.
“I can understand that they want to isolate them, but there are other ways to get the point across,” said Vanessa Sparks, a Webster senior. “They don’t send kids work, and they need to fix the lunch policy.
“I get we were ‘bad’ kids, but you don’t have to treat us like we’re poor or something. Even people in jail get a halfway decent meal.”
Taylor Morris, a sophomore at Webster, said she also had trouble getting her work while she was in TRAICE.
“They could definitely work harder to get your work. I went an entire day without receiving anything from teachers,’’ Morris said.
Johnson said he passes out schoolwork to the students in TRAICE so they can keep up with their classes, but it’s up to them to do it.
Daizhan Ferguson, a sophomore at Webster, is in TRAICE for excessive tardiness.
Ferguson said he is not in TRAICE that often.
He said he doesn’t like it, but he does his work.
The TRAICE students have to do community work around the school.
Ferguson doesn’t mind going out and cleaning up.
“I do that at home,” he said.
Brittney Edgehill, a freshman at Webster, was sent to TRAICE for walking out of class.
“I like Mr. Johnson. He’s OK,” Edgehill said.
She said she doesn’t really learn from TRAICE.
Sparks, however, learned from her experience.
“I’m a good child. I don’t belong in there. Being in there will make you think twice before acting up,” Sparks said.