Springfield alternative school helps students beat their dependence on drugs

Strict confidentiality was maintained as students told 22News their stories.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – One of Western Massachusetts least known alternative high schools helps its students beat their dependence on drugs.

Only a few dozen students attend class at the Liberty Preparatory High School. It’s a former parochial school building near the X in Springfield’s forest park, and one of five such schools in Massachusetts.

Strict confidentiality was maintained as students told 22News their stories.

“At the time I was on marijuana, I was struggling to stay in school and that is what I was struggling with,” said a student attending Liberty Preparatory High School.

“I was smoking marijuana and I wasn’t able to focus on my classes and I just couldn’t manage in regular school,” said another student attending Liberty Preparatory High School.

Both will graduate in the spring. He plans to go on to college and she will continue her education to become a nurse.

Paul Collins is the school’s drug counselor. He told 22News what each of his students needs most and what they receive at this alternative high school.

“Compassion, compassion, understanding the ability to educate beyond what is written,” said Collins.

The high school so few know about has been helping drug dependent teenagers for ten years. School administrator Dwight Hall regrets his school being under the radar for so long.

We’re the best kept secret apparently in western Massachusetts. We struggle with distract area communities to release their children under the state mandate and we struggle every day with that,” said Hall.

The messages throughout the school are clearly designed to help troubled teenagers by helping them to increase their sense of self-worth.