• Classrooms for Students With Severe Emotional Impairment


    The Behavioral Education Center (BEC) provides a highly structured educational program for students in grades K-12 with severe emotional impairment. The BEC is a centralized program and is located within a separate wing of the Walnut Street Elementary building in Bangor. The program is self-contained meaning that students receive all of their instruction within these classrooms until they are ready to be mainstreamed into outside classes. Because the student is separated from his/her local school and peers to attend this program, it is important to first determine if the student’s needs can be met in his/her local school with special education, individualized programming attempts, additional resources, and supplemental services.
    The primary goal of the BEC program is to teach students the academic skills and behaviors necessary to successfully return to their local school setting or to complete graduation or certificate requirements. The length of time a student is in the BEC program varies from student to student; however, on average, it takes a minimum of two to three years for students to successfully complete the program to return to their local districts. The Behavioral Education Center (BEC) uses a research-based school wide behavior management plan. Each classroom follows this plan to teach children acceptable school behavior and to reduce or eliminate behaviors that interfere with learning. As a part of this plan, the program uses behavior interventions which have been found to be effective in managing severe or persistent behavior problems. Ongoing data is collected to determine student progress and the effectiveness of interventions. When a student does not respond to the program’s behavior management system, a team of professionals is available to further assess a student's behavior and develop other behavioral interventions as necessary to address their needs. This team includes the school psychologist, social worker, teacher, paraprofessional, consultant, administrator, and parent.

    The BEC program is an educational program and is not designed to meet the psychiatric or therapeutic needs of children who have more serious biologically based mental illnesses which may require a therapeutic residential program.


    The Van Buren BEC Program has the belief that all children are capable of learning if provided with appropriate instruction, meaningful learning experiences, and the appropriate learning environment. Within such an environment, children learn, not only academics, but learn acceptable behaviors necessary to be successful in and out of school. When children experience success in school, they feel better about themselves which has a positive effect on their behavior and desire to learn. Because of this, the BEC program strives to create a learning environment that is supportive, rewarding, and success-oriented. In providing such an environment, we believe that educational programming must be based upon the child’s individual needs and characteristics as well as what the research tells us about child development, learning, and effective teaching. We further believe that decisions about a child’s educational programming are best made through a “team” effort including parents to allow for different points of view and more objective decisions. The BEC program also follows the “least restrictive environment philosophy that children with disabilities should participate with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible. Because of this, students are screened into the BEC program only after they have demonstrated their inability to benefit from the programs, services, and resources provided by their local school. If placed, students are mainstreamed as soon as they demonstrate readiness and as much as their ability will allow.

    Student Population

    This program was established and designed for students living within Van Buren County whose emotional impairment have prevented their educational and emotional needs from being met within their local school setting for an extended period of time despite local special education services and individualized behavior interventions (see Placement Guidelines). 


    One Special Education Teacher of Children with Emotional Impairment and two Program Assistants for a maximum of ten students per classroom.

    How to Access Services

    Submit a Request For Observation and Consultation (ROCS) to the BEC at 30 S. Walnut St., Bangor Mi. 49013 or call the BEC at 427-7961 for further information.

    Contact Persons
    Gene Vogds, Principal, email: gvogds@vbisd.org 
    Aaron Tennant, Consultant, email: atennant@vbisd.org
    Nichole Burfield, Consultant, email: nburfield@vbisd.org
    Kelly Brinks, Secretary, email: kbrinks@vbisd.org