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.

Name:
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.

Friday, September 01, 2006

An Open Letter to Prosecutor Daniel Green, Jefferson City, Missouri

Dear Prosecutor Green
City Court
Jefferson City, Missouri

Dear Mr. Green:

Below is a letter that gives one reason why we decided to press disturbing the peace violations against Shelley Walton, 324 Ash Street. These incidents happened in May. There were many before that. There were many after. Below is a letter we sent to Section 8 and the police department to help us and our neighborhood solve what we felt was a dangerous situation.

Our dispute, contrary to what you said in court, was not a neighbor's dispute. We tried to get a long. For many months now we tried. Then we acted and even though the cases were dismissed, I felt you should know why I did what I did.

Most of the letter is as told to me through the eyes of my wife.

Section 8
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Dear Pat:

We thought we would update you on the problems related to the Section 8 tenants residing at 324 Ash. In the time since we delivered the petition to your office (about four weeks ago), three major incidents have occurred.

On May 13th, the police were called to the residence three times. First, because of a suspicious vehicle in front of the house in question. One individual was taken into custody. Another teenager got out of the car and cursed and yelled and generally disturbed the neighborhood’s peace for a good twenty minutes. A man came up to him after the police left and asked him what his problem was. The teenager swung on the man, the people on the porch of 324 Ash rushed inside their home, the man’s sister saw what was happening and tried to break it up (she even urged the tenants of 324 who were now back on the porch to call the police), and then the tenants were calling the police—but to tell them someone was attacking them. The police came and took the man to jail. The teenager who started it walked into 324 Ash as if he belonged there. An hour later when I stepped out onto the porch, individuals on 324’s porch told me to “take your mf ass back into the house.” I had come onto the porch to investigate a loud noise. The next thing I knew the adult, Shelly Walton, was on one side of my porch and one of her tenants, a young lady named Kendra, was directly in front of me threatening to kick my ass. A teenage boy had to grab Kendra (alias Ginger, alias Vanessa, alias Kendera) and pull her away. The police came out a third time because the neighbors had called them. I filed a complaint. The police issued a ticket to the young lady who came before me and threatened to cause me bodily harm (I was seated at the time), but not to Shelly who said: “We’ll get you when you’re alone.” I can’t tell you why Shelly wasn’t issued a ticket, too.

Let’s move onto May 21st. There was a major disturbance from the house at 324 Ash. Once more the police had to come out. It is very hard to sleep when the tenants of 324 Ash come out after dark and disturb the night with their loud talking until the sun comes up. I clearly overheard one of the teenagers ask who called the police. He was answered by someone else I cannot identify: “The lady next door. Someone’s got to take care of her.”

May 23rd. A gun was found on the property of 324. This is after a disturbance around 324 the night before. No one was taken into custody, but the police came to 324 with a presence and Shelly had to sign something. Furthermore, the officers made her son, Toma, clean the street. The police never stopped coming after that. They must have arrived at least twenty more times. I thought I was living in a war zone. The police would show up, the teenagers would run and flaunt themselves to the police and this went on and on past midnight. I have to tell you I am actually scared for my life and the life of my children. I do not know who called the police about the teenager with the gun, but the boy who allegedly had the gun saw me get out of my car and he gave me a hard and dangerous look.

I do not know what to do, but I do know this: it will only get worse and when it escalates into violence where people are hurt or dead, how will you in Section 8, how will the City of Jefferson, how will the community be able to look itself in the mirror? The problems at 324 Ash have gone on long enough. It is time something clearly is done to stop it.

Thank you.

Deborah Wymbs

Michael H. Brownstein

Anne Hoffman

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blogs are a painful reminder of what this town is best at - devolving! Sometimes I wish I never moved my family back here. I know what we are doing brings a tiny speck of hope to this rather hopeless town, but what difference we can make, I'm afraid, will be minimal.

Stay in touch!

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your doing important things over there
and
I'm proud to say I support it. I've been meaning to ask, how would I
get
the police report for my neighborhood? On your blog you spoke of
getting a
report from the police or the city about the complaints in your area.
Here
in the St.Mary's area we have an off and on drug dealer who is starting
her
business up again so I'm having to consider involving the police and
city
more in our area. Any information or advice you could give would be
greatly
appreciated.

Thank you,

Wes

5:43 AM  
Blogger Michael H. Brownstein said...

Wes,

Missouri has a Sunshine Law. This makes it possible for you to access all public information through the police department. When we were looking for evidence to help us get rid of the gangs and the wannabees, we gave the police the address where everything was coming from, paid five dollars for the first report and ten cents a page for the rest, and received a report on the house a few days later.

Hope this helps.

Michael Brownstein

6:39 AM  

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