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Indianapolis to open school to serve juvenile offenders

– Juvenile offenders will have new programs catering to their educational needs starting next year in Indianapolis.

The city will be the first in the nation to open a charter school designed for youths passing through the juvenile court system and other troubled students.

The Francis Marion Academy, which could operate within Indianapolis Public Schools, will focus on students released from detention and those suspended or expelled from their home schools.

An offshoot at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center will provide detainees with six hours of instruction each day.

About 200 students in grades six through 12 may participate in the academy when it opens for the 2015-16 school year, said Scott Bess of Goodwill Education Initiatives and one of the organizers.

“This is an opportunity to take students who don’t have anything good going on for them and give them hope,” Bess said.

Organizers hope the instruction in a highly structured environment will help students earn a diploma and at least one industry-related certificate.