Disciplining students who break laws is always a difficult question for educators and juvenile probation officers. A program in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is trying a new approach. The group is called Run the Streets, and they’re offering teens in trouble with the law the chance to avoid detention or probation by participating in a running program.
The teenagers train for and complete a half-marathon. Adult mentors also run with the teens, to provide an extra dimension of support and encouragement. Not only do the teens get fit, they also build self-confidence and self-discipline. “I wanted to develop alternatives to traditional probation where kids would be internally motivated to change their behaviors rather than depending on external negative consequences, which are by and large ineffective,” explains founder Bob Williams, who is also a probation officer and runner.