Sobriety High

Program 114 • 29 mins


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They’re known as “sobriety highs” and “recovery highs”—schools for students who’ve gotten into trouble with alcohol and other drugs. They teach traditional academics, but also an important life skill—how to navigate the emotional turbulence of adolescence without getting high on substances. The school opened its doors in 2006, one of three recovery high schools in Massachusetts, funded by a five-year grant from the state legislature. Nationwide, there are over two dozen recovery highs, mostly designed for small classrooms and a low student population. The Boston school, with a goal of enrolling fifty students, is called William J. Ostiguy High School, named after its founder, a Lieutenant in the Boston Fire Department and director of the Department’s Employee Assistance Program.

You know, at a regular school if the kid drops out, well maybe he’ll get in a GED program, maybe he’ll come back to school, he’ll get a job. Here if a kid drops out, maybe he’ll die, maybe she’ll overdose.”

—Principal Roger Oser


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