Whaley School works to change public perception

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Whaley makes sure that their students are surrounded by positive words because the ones they hear outside of school walls aren’t always so nice.

“A lot of the kids have been told they’re the bad kids,” said teacher Katie Fox.

Most of the students at Whaley School have special needs or behavioral issues.

But the staff wants the public to know that the students aren’t bad kids.

“I’ve heard those students are the criminals,” Principal Robyn Harris said. “Those students are going to jail. Those students are bad kids, inherently. But no kids are inherently bad.”

Harris has been aiming to change the perception of the students at Whaley School.

About four years ago, Harris started an annual gala to show off who the students really were.

Andre Becker, a junior, spoke during the gala.

“Some people, when they think the words Whaley, they think that it’s just a school full of horrible, bad children, and it really isn’t,” Becker said. “It’s just a school full of kids that have trouble in the regular school district and they come here to fix and help.”

“It doesn’t bother me because I know what school I go to,” Becker said. “I know what environment I’m in. I know it’s a beautiful place to be.”

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