The Student News Site of Triton High School

Triton Voice

The Student News Site of Triton High School

Triton Voice

The Student News Site of Triton High School

Triton Voice

Out-Sourcing Suspensions

New PASS Program Offers “Psychoeducational” Alternative to Punishment
A student works with a teacher at the new PASS suspension alternative program.
Somaiy photo
A student works with a teacher at the new PASS suspension alternative program.

Big changes have come to Triton High School’s suspension program as the district is trying out new alternatives to the traditional punishment with the “PASS program.”

The new PASS program stands for Positive Alternative for Student Support. Instead of being sent home for an out-of-school suspension, students this year are being sent to the McPherson Youth Center in Beverly, Mass. There, students from Triton and a dozen other schools, including Newburyport, Georgetown, and Ipswich, follow a daily schedule that includes academics as well as blocks of “psychoeducational therapy,” and “therapeutic recreation.”

Triton Adjustment Counselor Mrs. Rebecca Bibeau emphasized the unique and therapeutic setting the PASS program provides to students. She said it helps get to the root of the issues that got those students suspended.

“Suspensions are not an effective way to create change,” said Bibeau. Some students who don’t want to attend school “look forward to suspensions because they want to be home, and that’s not helpful for the students or the school.” Students get “individualized attention” at PASS said Bibeau, with a low student-to-teacher ratio. This helps staff understand the students’ problems and better understand how we can fix these problems in the future.

According to the PASS website, the program’s mission is to help students who “are likely to be struggling with mental health and/or substance use disorders, and they can be best supported through behavioral interventions, individualized academic support, and connections to outside resources.”

“The PASS program focuses on addressing the reasons behind student suspensions through group and individual therapy, along with activities that explore their mental health,” added Assistant Principal Mr. Joe Celia. “This helps students grow and make positive changes.”

“We approached the district after hearing success stories from other schools, and they supported our idea with the necessary funds,” explained Celia. “Although we’re still gathering data, students have given positive feedback.” The program lets students think about their actions and work on the issues that caused their suspension. In the long run, the PASS program is expected to reduce suspensions and give students more academic and mental health support, which will benefit the school community.

Rylan Mackey, a student from Triton, who’s experienced the program, highlighted the staff’s approach as quite different from what she had experienced before. She explained, “The staff there doesn’t hover around us all the time,” said Mackey. “They’re not constantly checking on us or asking if we need help. Instead, they give us space to work at our own pace. It’s more like they’re there when you actually need assistance.”

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Brandon Somaiy
Brandon Somaiy, Staff Writer
Hey!  My name is Brandon Somaiy, I am a Junior at Triton Regional High School Outside of the classroom, you'll find me on the turf, court, or even behind the counter at Seabrook Walmart where I work as a cashier. I live at home with my two parents and my younger brother. I spend the majority of my free time hanging out with friends and just chilling out. Writing for the school paper is meaningful for me,  it allows me to write about the achievements of students, teachers, and staff. Whether these accomplishments are in sports, academics, community, or any other activities. The topic that I am most passionate about is sports. It wouldn't be uncommon to see me write about a Viking win or a new coach at Triton. After high school,  want to attend a four-year college and major in business because it's a field that truly interests me. However,  I'm still undecided about the specific career I want to pursue. You can reach me at [email protected]

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