Last Chance High

Last Chance High

2014, Society  -  Playlist 60 Comments
8.18
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Ratings: 8.18/10 from 119 users.

On Chicago's West Side, there is a school for the city's most troubling youth - the Moses Montefiore Academy. Most of the pupils there have been expelled from other schools for causing serious problems, and many have been diagnosed with various psychological disorders.

Last Chance High transports viewers inside Montefiore's classrooms and into the homes of these young pupils who are one error away from being sent to prison or committed to a mental institution. At first, we see two 14-year-old Montefiore students, Cortez and Crystal, who were sent to the school after furiously assaulting their former teachers. Cortez's mother condemns the boy's father, who is in jail for murder.

Crystal has injured her schoolmates and been caught stealing since showing up at Montefiore - which literally destroyed her mother and left her on the verge of psychological collapse. Though Montefiore teachers' job can be very difficult, they'll never abandon the city's most troublesome and unstable student population.

Montefiore is the only therapeutic school in the Chicago public school system. The main diagnosis among the students is the emotional behavioral disorder (EBD) and then a lot of it is just aggression. Most of the time the students are out of control because teacher don't have control over their home situation.

When the dean of the school describes the stuff that he has to do throughout the day, his friends are looking at him like he's crazy. The structure that they try to give to the students at Montefiore is only so much that they can do in a school. The restraint is used in special education but it's only supposed to be used when it's necessary. If they're becoming a threat to themselves or others that's the situation when a restraint is used. For everything else you have to talk them out. Patience is the main thing. The personnel already know that these teenagers have massive problems so they're not taking things personally.

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Linda
Linda
4 years ago

Montreal/Spanky broke my heart. His speech is affected by his home life with his father.

Deb
Deb
6 years ago

Allie, Spanky recovered his ability to speak properly :-)

Deb
Deb
6 years ago

Highlander, I couldn't understand a lot of what they were saying in the beginning. In fact I had to put captions on my t.v. in order to understand everything. All t.v's have that feature. However, I don't think your problem is really not understanding what they say. From the way you expressed yourself it seems like you don't understand or care about the problem that is being exposed at all. Montefiore was the only special ed public school in Chicago for children with behavioral and emotional problems. The children attending that school have those issues mostly because of the environment they grow up in. As you must know there are serious issues with violence and drugs in Chicago. The teachers and staff are angels who took it upon themselves to provide a much needed service to children in need. I am sorry that the way they speak is not up to your standards and because of it you were not able to understand the phenomenal work they do.
U also did not get the chance to understand how much the system has failed these children because even though there is a desperate need for places like these in Chicago they ended up closing down Montefiore leaving most of these children to their own environment and to a faith of drugs, jail or death.
I know watching the Kardashians is very glamorous but there are communities in your country that need help. It is ugly and messy but they are human beings. Also, the work that people who care enough to get involved do is more valuable than you'll ever know and deserves praise.

Allie
Allie
7 years ago

Spanky is an absolute gem. I have so much respect for Mr. Williams being such a supportive mentor. My only complaint is how Spanky kept getting warnings and told to walk away from the kid ripping on his stutter. Personally I'd like to beat the piss out of that kid, because if anyone needs to correct their behavior, it's him. Spanky is totally rational in his responses and he suffers an obvious impairment which he's relentlessly teased for. Furthermore, he shows interest in his schooling and responds well to coaching. The other kid is a twat who is bullying him without any provocation whatsoever.

Arnold
Arnold
7 years ago

The Family is a Triangle Father , Mother, Child. If Either one Breaks Down This is what you get.

Kuvi
Kuvi
8 years ago

Are these kids poor

Violet
Violet
8 years ago

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi

Lois
Lois
8 years ago

I was VERY touched by these amazing teachers that truly dedicate themselves to these kids. I was watching the children's eyes through the whole set of videos. They do not want to be these people they are portraying. There is great pain in their eyes and I was in tears for these kids. Parents are most of these kids problems. I cannot tell you in words how heart breaking it is to see kids that are not being given a fair shake at life. The school is doing all they can. Now the parents need to step up or step out. I hate to see kids go into foster care, but if I didn't live a thousand miles away, I would take them all. Love is really all they need and to be able to feel safe. My mother used to say " if not but for the grace of God, there goes I ". Be thankful if you had someone in your life who cared, because those kids could have been you! It only takes one person to make a huge difference and I for one am going to try harder .

jojopug
jojopug
8 years ago

I live a mile east of this school. I find it interesting that the filmmakers seem to have deliberately left out the Costco sitting right next to this school in an attempt to make the neighborhood look worse.

Maya
Maya
9 years ago

That's how kids turn out when the government bans you from spanking them, where's the government now? My parents spanked me..and I never ever dared talk to them with such disrespect. When government and welfare take control from the parents,they have to take the consequences too.

Jackie
Jackie
9 years ago

From what I've seen there are two or three students that definitely are being touched by these adults and what they are doing --- most of all Cortez and Spanky. I cried so hard during the episode following Cortez getting back on his medication, finally after the pastor stepped in and took charge by going to his house one morning and discovered that his mother was neglecting to make sure he was taking medication each morning before school. Surely enough, he's given his medication the next morning and, just like day and night, Cortez is able to calmly and clearly reveal the pain and frustration of missing his father, he even gives such clear insight into how the absence of a male figure in his life has contributed to his violent and destructive behavior. The same evening, he's able to finally even sit down, stop pacing as he seemed to be all the time before, and spends the evening writing to his father in a notebook.

Jackie
Jackie
9 years ago

Amazing series...please continue to tell the story of these youngsters. I hope that more stories like this will be told in the future about kids growing up in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, etc. Not only to just raise an awareness but more importantly to help build MORE therapeutic schools where kids can meet mentors like the amazing people at this school.

I truly cannot tell you how much I admire the teachers and individuals from this community and the amount of time, energy, and love they dedicate to trying to keep these kids off the streets.
..
Both Spanky and Cortez lack a father figure at a pivotal time in their lives, the crucial developmental stage in transition to adolescence, and it is only out of the love of the community pastor and the coach that these two boys are given the chance to have a positive male figure to intervene in their life and guide them in the right direction.

Eric Lawson
Eric Lawson
10 years ago

Poor young man! So much going against him. Health as well. Once again no Father !!!

Eric Lawson
Eric Lawson
10 years ago

Yet one more child without a father Wow !! It is so obvious what the problems are. They need a strong father figure !!!

Eric Lawson
Eric Lawson
10 years ago

Another Father in prison. The Kids are all drugged up Sad !!!

Eric Lawson
Eric Lawson
10 years ago

Fathers are in Prison or gone.Not in this young mans life ! A prison cell just waiting for this young man Sad !!!

Eric Lawson
Eric Lawson
10 years ago

Very Sad !!!The parents need more money in order to be able to afford these kids !!!

Berty Popperdopper
Berty Popperdopper
10 years ago

How much longer can people (liberals) have pity for this mess...
If the parents don't give a s**t and refuse to install values in their children, i can only but fear the offspring of those children, as they will have even less moral fortitude.

Jennifer Grey DeWitt
Jennifer Grey DeWitt
10 years ago

one of the saddest things I have ever seen. It cant go in like this in the world. If we cant do better than this by our young then I dont know that we deserve a future on this planet.

gaboora
gaboora
10 years ago

This school is not working. What is the cause of these kids being like this? Poverty? No, I will tell you: parents who fornicated instead of loved and married.

Nicole Luvs Her'Life
Nicole Luvs Her'Life
10 years ago

Why can't everyone just agree that these kids are seriously in need of a new life, change of scenery, more input from POSITIVE people in their lives.. Maybe even counseling to work out some deep issues. It's very sad to see any child live like that... black, white, orange, or purple. Judging by the ignorance in the comments section, some of you may have benefited from a school like this one.

bringmeredwine
bringmeredwine
10 years ago

I read all the comments, naturally, before I watched this.
I'm Northern Canadian, not the brightest bulb on the tree by any means; but had no trouble understanding what everyone was saying.
The folks who work at this school are phenomenal. Especially the coach.
My only concern with the school was how the students victimised by their peers and voicing this, weren't acknowledged. When Christal explained what the boy was doing to her, no one empathised with her. Or when the boy was trying to read aloud, the other kid wouldn't stop tormenting him.
I think bullies should be reprimanded or removed from the situation. It must be very difficult for the kids who are reached, and want to learn; if someone is allowed to go on harassing them.
To all the haters out there; look where these kids live. Look at the scenarios they're born into. Everything is stacked against them from the time they are conceived.
It is my deepest hope that most students can someday be reached by these marvellous teachers, and a light will go on inside their heads. That they can somehow carve out a meaningful, satisfying life for themselves.
It is my deepest fear that some of these teachers might get killed trying to save these youngsters.

charlieb1488
charlieb1488
10 years ago

Those poor misunderstood angels. We should blame the white establishment. LOL. That is what happens when you have a thug mentality. None of those animals will be anything but a drain on society.

Black Scholar
Black Scholar
10 years ago

There is NOTHING wrong with these children. America's socio-economic DYING system is what's wrong with them. No jobs. Bad food, impoverished neighborhoods, and a constant police state; this IS America's policy against poor Black people.

and THAT is what's wrong with these kids. Also, toss in the CIA rolling in drugs and guns and BINGO a war zone

Highlander
Highlander
10 years ago

Dewflirt, , you misunderstand me. I agree with the concept of trying to help disadvantaged kids in every way possible. My comment was aimed at the documentary . I , personally , could not make out what either the kids or their teachers were saying . I would have continued to watch otherwise. I very much hope that this school helps many of those kids, but there appeared to be very little discipline in the classrooms, bus or corridors . With no regard for rules , how these folks going to integrate with society as most of us understand it?

dewflirt
dewflirt
10 years ago

You can never know how your care might influence a child's life, absolutely worth trying though. There's always a chance that you might say or do one small thing that stays with them, let's them know that somebody thought they were worth something. The coach is a good bloke, if only there were more like him, more schools like this, fewer situations that lead kids to needing them. I hope Spanky finds his voice, he's not a bad kid. Sometimes, when you can't say what you want to say, saying anything at all can be a challenge :)

InvisibleHandInMyPants
InvisibleHandInMyPants
10 years ago

You know, when your comments border on racist rants, perhaps the best plan is to just move on and spare the world your bs.

~Oliver B Koslik Esq
~Oliver B Koslik Esq
10 years ago

Comments such as Peter100's are blatant illustration of the problem at hand. Just vapid pessimism and emotional ignorance.

The principal reminds me of Samuel L. Jackson.
The kids remind me of myself.

Spanky seems like the most sane of them all.
His voice will come back.

+1 VICE

Highlander
Highlander
10 years ago

Looks horrendous, but sorry , without subtitles I can make almost nothing of this. Neither kids nor teachers speak English that I can follow. Gave up after 15 mins

petert100
petert100
10 years ago

What a nightmare school. These kids should be locked up.