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, August 03, 2006

Missouri and the new files on Ash Street

Ash Street must be fairly special. A few weeks ago we received all of the information on two of the houses on Ash Street. It was almost the size of a phone book. We received a lot of documentation on two households—including one where the parent called up on herself over and over again.

I can’t get my kids to go to school.

My daughter ran away again.

A boy is trespassing and I want him off my porch.

The boy I wanted off my porch yesterday. It’s OK for him to be on the porch today. (To the police:) So why are you bothering him?

My son jumped out the window and ran down the block.

You get the message. She called about bats in her house so often, the police finally sent a request not to animal control, but to DCFS. Even when she didn’t have phone service, she found ways to call and complain about her children. And much of it is a public record.

Now we have the files for all of the other houses on the block—including ours. It’s even thicker than those two—but not by much. Amazingly, only a handful deal with the house that allowed the gangbanger wannabees to hang out there and cause all kinds of problems until all hours at night. Most of it cannot even be tied to that house. You have to see some of these files to believe them.

I’m in a lot of them. They have a write up with my name on it for the captain of the police department to contact me to learn about gang signs. They have a place about me getting calls from people in Jefferson City while I’m in Chicago because they are so terrified, they are afraid to call the police. I find myself having to call the police for them.

I have to buy a scanner so I can scan all of these documents onto this blog.

My wife and I have separated them by address and put them in order by date. One house—315 Ash—made a complaint to the police because an unknown person threw garbage into his yard. A complaint made on 327 Ash claimed there was a loud party, but when the police arrived, the house was black and no one was around. (I should let you know the police arrived two minutes after they received the complaint.) There’s a complaint about a giant alligator walking down the street and there’s a complaint about the length of a leach and there’s a complaint about—well, I’m sure you get the jist of this.

Are there complaints about gangbangers and wannabees? Knife fights and disturbances? Damage to property and disturbances of the peace? A few. We thought we could use these documents to get absentee landlords to correct their behavior. We thought we could hire a lawyer to help us out. Now all we think we have made a mistake. Have you ever looked into the inside of your neighbors? With these papers, unfortunately, we have.


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