Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 21 2010

A population unseen

So I am exhausted but I just need to vent for one second:

So yesterday there was a ridiculous fight that broke out at our school in the cafeteria, during 2nd lunch– which is the lunch for 11th and 12th graders and the older academy. We’re talking 300-400 students in lunch at the same time. So two girls start fighting, and then “crews” (DCs gangs) start in on the fight, and pretty soon there are 6 or 7 different fights going on in the cafeteria. The principal got knocked on to his back at some point, security guards were trying to pull students off of each other and were being hit too, then the MPD came in and they even got attacked. A mess. To quote, “a melee” erupted. The dust clears in the lunch room and they start sending students upstairs early to 4th period. More fights erupt in the hallway. My principal is decked in the face twice, and more kids are fighting in the hallway. At this point, numerous police cars are at the school, and officers have on bulletproof vests outside and inside the building. The media shows up. Then our administration decides it would be a bright idea to let the older kids leave the building. To us teachers this translates to: Okay crews, now go finish your business outside of the school because we don’t want you here. What message is this sending to the kids? Not only that but, next time you don’t want to go to 4th period, or any period for that matter, start a huge fight. I have yet to see disciplinary action come of this. I know a student in my 4th period class was involved and he was here today. Bullshit. To top all of this off, they had originally decided to cancel homecoming festivities (dress up days, go-go, homecoming game) and they have since decided to keep everything, except students must be in their uniforms. So THIS translates to a go-go at 1:45 pm tomorrow, which the good students do not even want to attend because they are worried that fighting will happen again and we will not be able to control it. Frankly, so am I. The icing on the cake is that even though there were police EVERYWHERE and news cameras everywhere trying to interview kids, staff, etc., there were only a few very small stories covering this ridiculous occurance. A police car apparently got destroyed, there were shots fired outside of the school, dozens of kids fighting, assaulting of staff members and police and it gets a 4 sentence news clip? Disgusting. If this happened at a white suburban school it would be all over the news for days. Society seriously cares so little about our urban youth that it deserves a 4 sentence blurb? Maybe its because society doesn’t expect anything more from them, so why bother to write anything at all?

Annoyed on so many levels. Good night..

2 Responses

  1. So bummed about this, and especially to hear that no one is communicating with you guys or the kids, or giving you any support. It was on the 11pm new last night – for several minutes.

  2. Hope your week improved. I’ve been keeping an eye on the news and saw a few articles. Was sad to see that the school spokesperson dramatically minimized the incident.

    Clearly if a police car was damaged, kids were fighting in the street and a kid was arrested in the neighborhood with a gun, it was a big deal. To deny that definitely won’t make the staff or kids feel any safer or improve anyone’s confidence that things are being addressed and are going to be OK.

    I’m sorry that you are going through this. I’m ever sorrier for the kids… any bright spots in the aftermath?

    Do you guys have any supplemental resources like conflict resolution or peer mediation programming? Any decent intervention strategies?

    If your school leaders would be interested, I might be able to help – I’ve been doing that kind of work with kids for ages and could volunteer some time to put together a program if they would be willing to commit to “valuing” it as part of the school culture.

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a blog about my quest to end the inequity of science education in America

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