GRAND JUNCTION — At first glance, nothing seems particularly unusual about the four-room school in this western Colorado city. Inside, six students are learning about radioactivity. The walls of their classroom are plastered with motivational messages like “Determination” and “Courage” scribbled onto paper cutouts of stars and moons.
A closer look reveals that Hilltop Day Treatment is no ordinary school. There are no backpacks or lockers. Students are escorted to the restroom. Hugs aren’t allowed, a precaution against inappropriate touching by students who do not yet understand physical boundaries. And before lunch, the students break from their regular lessons for group therapy.
Hilltop is a facility school, Colorado’s term for specialized institutions that…
Rae Ellen Bichell and Helen Santoro
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