Moving Pains, At-Risk Kids Adjusting

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

SHEFFIELD- The move in date for more than a hundred at-risk teenagers enrolled in the National Guard's Seaborne Challenge Corps in Galveston came early thanks to Hurricane Ike.

"The hurricane did enough damage to the facility they didn't think the current class could finish the semester," Iraan-Sheffield ISD Superintendent Kevin Allen, said.

I.S.I.S.D. took over the educational component for the Galveston facility ahead of talks the program would move into the old TYC Boot Camp in Sheffield, starting in January.

"The kids were roaming around different parts of town and people didn't know what going on," Walt Bosmans, owner of Grandad's Grocery said. "They weren't fully staffed and so they had some problems with the kids leaving the campus, community people were a little upset."

Director Michael Weir says the program is now about 50 percent staffed but the transition hasn't been easy for the students or the staff. This hurricane season they've been evacuated 3 times.

"Some of [the kids] started smoking again. They tried to get out and buy cigarettes," Weir said.  "We had to get the Seaborne staff back to Galveston to file insurance claims and FEMA claims, but we've got them all back and they're tracking good."

Weir tells NewsWest 9 the razor wire will soon come down off the old Boot camp. Tuesday at the Town Hall meeting he wants to explain the program and how it is nothing like the TYC.

"The students that come to our program volunteer, they have to apply, they have to be accepted," Weir said.

The kids in the program are not criminals and do not have records but are at risk of dropping out of school.

"The local people weren't able to make the jump from these being free world kids here on a voluntary program from the last kids who were prisoners and were supposed to be kept locked up," Constable Don Jackson, said.