Is a school for troubled youth similar to a boot camp?

A school for troubled youth and a boot camp is often thought to be the same thing. This, however, is a majorly flawed concept because there is a significant difference between the two. While the goal may be similar, which is to ensure a change in the behavior of the troubled youth- the way it is done is different in both cases.

Boot camps are similar to military schools in the sense that they tend to focus on bringing about an extreme and instead change in the youth through strict routines, harsh training and a tactic of using punishment and fear whenever necessary. While this does get the point across and plays a part in developing a sense of responsibility, discipline, and self-control in the youth- along with respect for authority. It does not, however, address the actual reasons which may be causing the teen to behave in a manner that is so disruptive to society.

Therein lays the major difference between the two. Schools for troubled youth are more like boarding schools which are slightly stricter. They have routines which need to be followed, but they follow a method of positive reinforcement rather than humiliation and degradation to get the job done. The youth is provided with an environment that is comfortable and secure and allows him/her to feel safe so that a positive change may occur from within.

Such schools also offer counseling and therapy to analyze and reflect upon the underlying reasons for a teen behaving in such an outrageous manner. Many times, it is an emotional or mental issue that is causing the youth to act in such a way and sending such a person to boot camp only worsens their state of mind.

It is important for them to feel safe enough to understand and reflect upon the issues they are facing as well as the issues they are creating so that a genuine change can arise from within the youth. Such a change tends to be more long-lasting and more effective than one that is forced.

Boot camps also have certain consequences such as the fact that they can cause the youth to rebel due to the extreme pressure or it can simply break them down rather than fix anything. The possibility of an adverse reaction to the forceful adherence to rules and routines can do more damage than good.

Therefore, a boot camp and a school for troubled youth are both very different in their manner of tackling the issues. Boot camps follow the military theory of forcing the teen into becoming disciplined and responsible, whereas, schools offer educational programs, therapy and counseling sessions to face the problem and hence, inculcate and assimilate values of responsibility, discipline, and authority within the youth. A boot camp may cause an extreme change or none at all but a school will bring about a change that is effect and long-lasting.