Daily Archives: May 22, 2009

Hard Knock Life

Read this article on ex-gang members turning their lives around.  Gangs used to be only an area of abstract interest to me.  Now that I work in a gang infested school, it hits close to home.

When people hear about where I work, they usually ask if I’m safe.  My reply is always, “for the most part, yes.  The most a kid will do to a teacher, typically, is goof off in his class, steal his stuff, or ‘tag up’ (synonym for writing graffiti) his classroom.  It is much different for the kids themselves, though.  Since they are the ones involved in the turf conflicts, they are much more susceptible to violence.”  Even the kids that aren’t embroiled in gang life are in danger, as this testimony from teacher of the year Alan Sitomer shows.

An astonishing amount of weapons go through inner city schools, so perhaps I’m blind, but I really feel like I’m not the one who has to worry.

Most gang activity at my school, from what I can tell, is with smaller gangs and what are called “party crews” or “tagging crews” that morph into gangs.  Nevertheless, they cause chaos on campus.  I have the same question Alan has: “why can’t these kids who are involved in gang life see the same light that the fellas in the article saw?”

Click on that last link to see a short enhanced podcast from a Lynwood High School student on gangs.

Here are some other posts on education.

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