Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP)
In 1995, the Texas Legislature established the concept of juvenile justice alternative education programs (JJAEP). This legislation mandated a separate educational setting to ensure safe and productive classrooms through the removal of dangerous and/or disruptive students and to address the issue of expelled youth receiving no educational services during the period of expulsion. Prior to the creation of JJAEP's, disruptive and dangerous students either remained in the classroom or were expelled to the street. Thus, the State had a critical interest in ensuring safe classrooms for teachers and students while providing educational services in an alternative setting for expelled students.
The legislation provides for juvenile justice alternative education programs (JJAEPs) operated by county juvenile boards in counties of over 125,000 in population. The juvenile board is required to have a memorandum of understanding detailing the operation of the JJAEP with each school district in the county. The legislature gave the juvenile boards tremendous flexibility in the development of these programs.
Academically, the mission of the JJAEPs shall be to enable students to perform at grade level. For the purposes of accountability, a student enrolled in a JJAEP is reported as if the student was enrolled at the student's assigned campus in the student's regularly assigned education programs, including special education. Each JJAEP is subject to minimum standards and accountability measures adopted by TJJD. A JJAEP must focus on English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and self discipline and shall also provide a high school equivalency program. JJAEPs are required to operate 7 hours a day for 180 days a year.
Currently, 27 counties are required to operate JJAEPs. Counties with populations below 125,000 have the option of developing JJAEPs.