Port Arthur middle school students graduate from special disciplinary program

Some students at Port Arthur's Thomas Jefferson Middle School are learning the importance of respect and responsibility.

Wednesday the school held a special graduation ceremony for 15 students who took part in "Project Restore", a program that takes students who have been in trouble in school, and instead of suspending them puts them in a six-week course that involves character education and discipline intervention.

"I learned that respect is learned, earned and returned. And this program is, incredible... because without this program, I would be somewhere else," said 8th grade student Romeo Carr.

Former Port Arthur city council candidate Mike Mason was the ceremony's keynote speaker. He talked to the students about how important it is to have a vision for the future, set goals, and take action to attain them.
Thomas Jefferson assistant principal Jamil Abdul-Jabbar helped start the program about 5 years ago. He says suspending students only leads to higher dropout rates, and that continuing their education in a classroom setting is key.

Abdul-Jabbar says he believes Thomas Jefferson is the only school in the Golden Triangle offering this type of program.


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