Schools for Troubled Teens in Oklahoma

By Amy Sutton
Smiling teenagers in classroom.
Smiling teenagers in classroom.

Being a teenager in this day and age can be tough. There are temptations and distractions everywhere. In Oklahoma, as many as 23 percent of high school students smoke, 38 percent have had alcohol and 36 percent use marijuana, according to a 2011 survey by the Office of Adolescent Health, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When parents are unable to help their troubled teen at home with these problems and others, there are special schools in Oklahoma that may be able to assist them in making positive changes.

Choosing a School for Your Troubled Teen

Learn as much as possible about each school that's available for your teen. Knowledge is power after all. Ask for references and request that all promises and policies be given to you in writing.

Set up a time to actually visit the school and go there armed with all the questions you need answered. Ask if the facility is licensed and what accreditation it has received. Inquire about staff credentials and curriculum at the school. Does the school perform background check on all its employees? Find out what their discipline policies are and how much contact you will have with your teen.

Educate yourself further about the state of Oklahoma's academic standards and more on Oklahoma's State Department of Education website. It contains a wealth of helpful information on the Parent's Page.

Tulsa Boys' Home

Located right in Tulsa, The Tulsa Boys' Home offers substance abuse treatment, an equine program and an on-campus school. The state-certified teachers at the school come from the Sand Springs School District and teach around 10 to 12 boys in each class.

The equine-assisted psychotherapy program is used to help boys learn responsibility and build trust. Teens with substance abuse problems benefit from the substance abuse treatment, which includes family counseling, individual therapy and group therapy. Tulsa Boys' Home has received accreditation by the National Council on Accreditation.

Thunderbird Youth Academy

Thunderbird Youth Academy in Pryor Creek is a nationally recognized program offered through the Oklahoma Military Department and the National Guard. It is for boys and girls, ages 16 to 18. While in the program, teens can work on high school credits, complete a GED and earn college credits. Along with academics, cadets learn about job skills, health, hygiene, life-coping skills, leadership, responsible citizenship, physical fitness and community service.

Thunderbird Youth Academy is accredited by the American Correctional Association and is licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Shadow Mountain

Shadow Mountain is also located in Tulsa and offers a residential treatment program for children and adolescents. This program aims to help youth with behavioral and emotional problems, through therapeutic programs for teen boys and girls. Resiliency helps boys and girls deal with aggression. Boys can participate in a Threshold program to deal with sexual offenses, while girls can get help with self-harming through the Transformations program.

Other residential treatment programs include those for the developmentally delayed, Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post-Acute Recovery. Schooling is completed on-site through the Tulsa Public School system.

Shadow Mountain is licensed by the Oklahoma Department of Health and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. It is accredited by The Joint Commission.