A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday night, and the gang bangers are out. Not here in Chicago where I work, but in Jefferson City, Missouri where we have a few properties. It’s nice outside. Not too hot, just the right breeze, and the smell of spring wafts across the yard.

We’re sitting on the front porch.

And then the Corner Street Gang starts a fight with the Street Hustlers and police cars rush to our block. In Jefferson City, we don’t need cable; we have a live shot of it from the comfort of our front porch.

One of the teenagers allegedly has a knife. The police surround him. The teenager pushes an officer. The next thing you know the teenager is flat on his stomach getting handcuffed and the other teenagers are going wild yelling and cursing and yelling some more. Six cops and forty kids. It’s not an even match.

Well, no one gets hurt. The police drive away. Things slowly settle down.

And then twenty teenagers rush out of the house next door to ours and rush over to see a new disturbance. The teenage children of our neighbor and their friend, a young adult named Kristen alias Ginger alias Vanessa, is picking with two dogs in our across the street neighbor’s yard. The owner of the house comes out and asks them to leave her dogs alone. Suddenly everything explodes—the teens are yelling and threatening and cursing and all the homeowner can do is get back into the house and call the police who do arrive and tell her to quit harassing the children and if she calls again, they’ll arrest her for having her dogs outside of her home even though they have papers and are restrained.

This is how the night goes.

I’m in Jeff City because this has to end. The house next door is out of control. Every time there is the least disturbance, at least twenty teenagers rush out of that house to make it worse. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night. They are always there. Always.

What do I plan to do this summer?

Simple. I’m going to Jefferson City to make sure my property is safe and the neighbors next door face the consequences.

What consequences?

Threats to harm individuals on the block.
Illegal weapons on their property.
Loud noise and disturbances late into the night.
Endangering small children.
Illegal drug sales.
Destruction of property.

Need I go on? I can, you know.


Blogger Rose Fisher said...

You are truly an urban warrior. I can't even imagine living under the circumstances you describe. I wish more people read this and thought of this the next time they are asked to vote for more money for the police. I don't think anyone could pay me enough to go out there and wage urban warfare and yet, people always think this is the "other" persons problem and their tax base is more important than schools, law inforcement, child care or education. I sometimes feel like slapping people awake. Maybe a little tour of the ghetto would do the trick, should be mandatory education for anyone over the age of 30 who has "made it" in society and can afford to escape to the 'burbs.

7:20 AM  

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