Pierre Travis, 23, has lived in Louisville’s West End his whole life.
Like other youth we interviewed for our series featuring students who at some point dropped out of the public school system, Travis attended several Jefferson County public schools.
Travis says after being suspended sophomore year he was sent to Buechel Metropolitan High School, one of the district’s several alternative schools. Here, he cycled in and out of the system over the next three years and ultimately left Buechel after being arrested for threatening a teacher, he says.
This is the third in a series of stories WFPL is airing over the next month profiling former public school students that left school before graduating. The series sheds light on the personal narratives behind statistics and data media often report.
“There are great teachers at Buechel. Then there are also bad teachers at Buechel. Buechel is programmed to scare you and it doesn’t really scare kids, it just makes kids angrier,” Travis says.
Why do you think it’s programmed to scare kids?
“Because Buechel is a school for kids who act out. And by coming to Buechel they get permission to put their hands on you and they think that’s going to steer you right back to the right way. But actually it can send kids off on a deeper end.”
Who helped you the most in Buechel?
“I would say Mr. Moore. He wasn’t my teacher, but he was a principal. He just seemed like he was always there. He wasn’t trying to be mean or nothing. There are a lot of nice teachers in there, though, but sometimes the other teachers take it the wrong way. In Buechel, if a teacher gets loud, all the teachers is coming. Then you have to step out there in the hallway. Then you can’t lean on the hallway, you have to keep your hands down to your side. If you don’t do none of that, they will push you up against the wall then they’ll take you to the room.”
Travis says he called the room where students were sent for discipline issues the “punishment room.” He says he was sent there numerous times after acting out.
“A teacher never knows what a student’s going through just like a student never knows what a teacher’s going through….sometimes they clash.
I would like to see more counseling because a lot of kids aren’t bad kids. It’s just they grow up fast and kids’ eyes are open. They can hear and they can see and they go through problems just as adults do and sometimes kids wear their parents problems on their shoulders.”
This series is part of The Next Louisville education project.