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Your Teen has been Expelled From School. Now What?


For many parents who learn that their teen has been expelled from school, this is devastating news. They see the hopes and dreams for their teen disappear before their eyes. The initial fear is often the concern about whether this indiscretion will follow the teen into adulthood, by influencing college acceptance and job potential. Susie will no longer be accepted to the state university and have the opportunity to study animal science. What will Susie do? But what parents need to be asking is what can I do as a parent to deal with the expulsion and resurrect my childís future?

Teens who have been expelled are often good kids who can benefit from treatment programs

Often teens who are expelled from boarding schools and other educational programs are bright kids who have a lot of potential yet they enter into the type of behavior that necessitates separating them from the other students.

While a teen is in school, he or she has access to school counselors, teachers and other education specialists who can give parents direction as to which behaviors are normal and which show a need for help. When a teen is suspended or expelled, parents can get help from these sources and also get recommendations for other mental health professionals who can help. Some parents choose to hire an educational consultant to identify their teenís specific needs and suggest schools or programs designed specifically to deal with the teenís emotional and behavioral issues.

A parent should not feel like a failure for resorting to alternative resources. Some teens need additional structure and intervention to regain control of their lives.

Explore causes of your teenís self-defeating behavior

Warning signs of an impending expulsion are not often evident. Parents are not always aware of what is happening with their teen at school. Since teenagers learn to master the art of pretending, or manipulation, parentsí only insight may be what their teen chooses to share, which may not provide enough information to alert them to the teenís troubling behaviors. Teachers and guidance counselors are great resources to observe changes in behavior, but often by the time a parent hears from them it is too late and expulsion has occurred.

Parents can be proactive and speak regularly with school staff to become aware of any problems that are not evident in the home, and to work closely with the teen to help them overcome the problem, such as bad influences from a new peer group. Therefore, providing your child the best opportunity for change gives them a chance to rebuild.

Behaviors like declining grades, withdrawal, substance abuse, sexual acting out, defiance of authority, skipping school, and fighting, if addressed quickly may only be a bump in the road and quickly resolved. Parents may not think the teenís behavior is unusual for his age and that he or she will grow out of it, but it is important that parents do not condone the behavior by making excuses for their teen, as it only reinforces the negative behavior. If the behavior is left unaddressed, it may escalate into more devious behavior resulting in incarceration or death. If your teen is aggressive, argumentative, or withdrawn, and his or her behaviors are upsetting to the family, it is time to seek help.

Importance of taking immediate action

Blaming yourself or your teen for their expulsion from school does not solve the problem. Do not feel like a failure for resorting to other resources such as therapy, changing schools or pulling your teen out of their environment and placing them in a therapeutic boarding school or residential treatment facility. Some teens need additional structure to regain control of their lives. Understand that it takes time for parents to process and accept the expulsion, but know the quicker you respond, the greater the chance for change.

After expulsion, seek appropriate treatment and/or placement for your teen

Treatment and counseling for dealing with a teenís emotional and behaviorial disorders are recommended by mental health professionals. Parents are encouraged to look at options such as enrolling the teen in a local private school, a military school, wilderness or correctional boot camp, residential treatment center or therapeutic boarding school.

Residential therapeutic boarding schools have been proven to achieve success in changing the lives of struggling teens. Many offer 24/7 structured treatment programs and therapies specifically designed to meet the needs of teens. Some residential programs also provide accredited academic curriculums that enable the teen to continue to earn credits toward graduation.

A therapeutic boarding school combines boarding school with clinical treatment for behavioral and emotional health issues. Therapeutic programs utilize highly structured settings, counseling, therapy and outdoor adventure activities to help teens address underlying causes for inappropriate behavior and to teach positive and healthy life skills. These facilities offer a safe environment for out-of-control teens to learn how to correct inappropriate conduct and become healthy responsible young adults. Successful outcomes can be achieved when the teen is enrolled in a residential therapeutic program for a period of six months to a year.

Why choose a therapeutic boarding school?

The value of structure and nurturing therapists in a distraction-free environment provides teens the opportunity to deal with temptations, stressors, and irresponsible choices.

If a parent is fortunate enough to have the resources to afford a therapeutic boarding school, it may make all the difference. Private residential school settings, like Ironwood School and Residential Treatment Center (RTC), provide a safe structured setting where the teen is removed from their friends and other negative influences and then can focus on healing themselves with the entrusted help and guidance of a nurturing therapeutic staff.

Issues are dealt with in effective ways at residential therapeutic boarding schools

Drug or alcohol abuse, sexual acting out, rule breaking and other negative behaviors are dealt with in effective ways with the help of qualified therapists at Ironwood School and RTC. The therapeutic boarding school is effective because the teen is immersed in the environment of the school, and the entire environment is therapeutic, with individualized treatment programs tailored to each childís needs. The teen learns to accomplish tasks while working with a group, learns communication and leadership skills, and learns responsibility as they take care of various farm animals while carefully supervised by trained staff. In addition, licensed professional clinical staff provides individual, family, and group therapy.

Ironwood accepts crisis admissions 24/7, 365 days a year

Ironwood School and RTC is the first choice of college prep boarding and day schools for teens needing more services and structure.

Ironwood is able to provide troubled teens an opportunity to explore underlying causes of self-defeating behavior while simultaneously receiving a college prep education. Ironwoodís approach to behavior modification and education combine the skills and tools necessary to ensure success. Ironwood accepts incoming students Monday through Sunday year round.

Ironwood School and RTC has the experience and resources to help adolescents get back on the right track. If you are concerned about your teen and would like to learn more about Ironwood RTC, please call 1-800-476-0708, or email us at, or click

About Ironwood School and Residential Treatment Center - Ironwood is a one-of-a-kind combination of a traditional boarding school and therapeutic treatment program that specializes in working with teens 13-18 who are struggling, underachieving, and whose behavior is often out of control. Through an extensive and customized therapeutic program and academic curriculum, Ironwood helps teens find greater success than they have ever experienced. Our mission is to give hope to parents who are concerned about their children by helping their teen become healthy, happy and responsible.



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