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|05-12-03: Area student takes the alternative to better
|By JANIE SOUTHARD
The Daily Standard
Billy Mott believes all his trouble began in 1994 when he was 8 years
old and his father was murdered on the sidewalk in front of the old Eagles lodge in
"He was stabbed to death. But him dying didn't phase me so much
because he was never really around. I only saw him when we went to his house and
then he wasn't sober except early in the morning. Then he'd start drinking again right
after he got up," Mott, 17, told The Daily Standard last week.
What Mott remembers most about his father's death was the teasing at
school from the other kids.
"They'd say 'who was stabbed today at your house?' or 'any
stabbings lately?' It made me mad and I got into fights," said Mott, who has one full
brother, two half-brothers, one half-sister and six stepbrothers.
He was first expelled from school in the sixth grade after punching
another kid who called his mom a name.
"The kid got a concussion, but I'm not sure if it was the impact
of my punch or that he fell against one of those big poles at the middle school," he
Fighting and anger have been big players in the teen-ager's life, but
with the help of alternative school programs and counseling, Mott says he's turning his
Mott soon will satisfy state high school graduation requirements thanks
to the Mercer County Alternative Center.
"Billy is one of 46 of our students who will complete credits for
graduation and we may have seven more," said Matt Niekamp, alternative center
director, adding the center has served a record number of 126 students this year.
Niekamp said programs at the alternative center are designed for
students identified as "highest risk to fail in school."
"The nature of high risk youth means they appear more in the
courtroom than in the classroom, get high on drugs instead of life, have children instead
of living a childhood of their own," Niekamp said.
Mott easily qualifies as high risk. With a rap sheet of 18 convictions,
he has spent many hours in the courtroom and months in the juvenile detention and
rehabilitation system, including a boot camp near Columbus.
"Boot camp is state licensed and privately owned and operated by a
retired Columbus police officer. It's run like military boot camp and provides intense
discipline, which is exactly what these kids need," Mercer County probation officer
Nick Schulze told The Daily Standard during an interview last week at Mott's home.
"I've been Billy's P.O. for a long time and we've had our rough
times. Billy's like a lot of kids who don't want to hear what you're telling them. They're
angry and they don't want to accept responsibility for their actions," Schulze said
looking at Mott who sat quietly and listened.
Mott freely admits he has a problem dealing with his anger but
court-ordered counseling has helped.
"But, the counselors said I couldn't get off drugs by myself, but
I proved them wrong. I just quit," he said as he bounced his 18-month-old son Hunter
on his knee.
Little Hunter, who looks a whole lot like his dad, has played the
biggest part in Mott's efforts to take charge of his problems.
"I was in jail when I found out he was on the way and got out
right before he was born. I don't want him to grow up the same way I did, without a
father. I want him to do good in school and go to college," Mott said.
Before Hunter's arrival, Mott was dealing drugs, running with street
kids in Dayton and living on his own.
"Yeah, I was scared sometimes. Some guys I knew in Dayton got
killed. But, when you're on drugs, you just don't give a s### ," he said.
Now he says he's clean and doesn't miss the life on drugs.
"I'm through with it and I told them (his drug connections) I'm
not interested. What I was doing was stupid. I've learned a lot being in jail, on
probation, running with drugs - learned what I don't want," he said.
Schulze pointed out that when Mott's old buddies see him in the
newspaper they could show up and try to get him back to his old life.
"It could irk them you're doing well. Are you prepared for
that?" Schulze asked.
Mott said he's ready. "I'm more confident now about myself. I know
I can look them in the eye and say 'I'm through,' " he said.
Overall, Schulze believes Billy is a "success story in the
"In just a short time he'll be off probation and he'll turn 18
this year. Then he'll be on his own. He's come a long way. I hope he doesn't turn
back," Schulze said.
The key at this point is employment, and Mott is confident he'll find
"I'm the first in my family to have a high school diploma, and
that's gotta be a good start," he said.
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