This qualitative study examines the experiences of Canadian secondary school students who are enrolled in Behaviour Support-focused alternate school programs. Through semi structured interviews, I investigate students' understandings of their experiences as alternate school students and students who transitioned from mainstream to alternate schools. Three themes emerged in the data including ordinary violence in lives of the students, consistently disrupted education, tenuous feelings of belonging at school, and desire for connection. My findings suggest that traditional approaches of behaviour support do not address systemic inequalities and individualize 'problem' students to the point of harm. The findings suggest that behaviour-support programs have the potential to improve students' education by abandoning exclusionary disciplinary practices and working to integrate equity-focused approaches such as Restorative Justice in Education, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, and Anti-racist education. Finally, implications for schools, pedagogical approaches, and behaviour support policies are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Beck, Kumari
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