Frequently Asked Questions
Second Chance is a restorative justice education program for Arlington middle and high school students, helping them avoid alcohol, drugs, and certain other substances. Second Chance is not treatment or therapy. Students showing signs of early substance use will benefit most from attending Second Chance.
Students who are found to be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and/or certain other substances may be diverted to Second Chance in lieu of school suspension by APS or prosecution by Arlington County Juvenile Courts. Parents who are concerned or see signs of early substance use can refer their teen and students can refer themselves.
*A self or parent referral will not necessarily preclude a teen from being able to attend Second Chance again should the need arise.
Students learn how substance use affects their physical and mental health, as well as skills to deal with peer pressure. Students also develop an action plan to help them make healthy choices. Guest speakers each day supplement the curriculum. Parents/Guardians learn how to communicate more effectively with their teen and set clear limits and expectations for their behavior. Equally important, students referred by APS or the Courts who successfully complete the program usually avoid suspension from school and/or prosecution in juvenile court.
High school students attend a 3-day session and middle school students and Spanish-speaking students attend a 2-day session followed 6-8 weeks later with a booster session. Parents/Guardians must attend a 3-hour session on the evening of the last day of the student program and, later, the booster session (held virtually) with their student.
*Attendance at all sessions is required for successful completion.
Participation in Second Chance is an excused absence for APS students. Students and their parent/guardian are responsible for notifying schools if the referral is from the court or a parent/self-referral. The Attendance Office staff at your teen's school can code the absence in such a way that it is indistinguishable from other excused absences. Students are responsible for making up missed work.
The program is free for all Arlington middle and high school students. Students whose family resides outside of Arlington may attend a session if there is space. The cost is $400 for high school students and $350 for middle school students.
Generally, only the referral source and the school Substance Abuse Counselor will know that your teen is attending Second Chance. These professionals, along with Second Chance instructors, hold any information about your teen in confidence. If properly notified, the Attendance Office staff at your teen's school can code the absence in such a way that it is indistinguishable from other excused absences.