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.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


After the mace incident the police hauled off one child and one adult—the girl’s aunt. When they reached the police station, they were processed and held for about an hour when they were told they were free to go. It seems the witness who saw who sprayed the mace wasn’t a good enough witness.

Everything fell back onto the backs of the school. Members from the Board showed us and I was asked to testify. They were meeting to see if they should expel the child who had sprayed the mace.

In the afternoon everything hung on the principal’s decision. No one was charged with any crime. No one was expelled. I was called down again for the suspension hearing. The grown ups started bickering. Their children began to talk louder and louder. The principal suddenly looked around and yelled, “Quiet everyone. We have to get along. Everyone gets five days. I’m done. You can go, Mr. Brownstein.”

We were asked if we wanted to press charges against any of the adults. We were told to hang together and the police would arrest the adults and prosecute them. I wanted to prosecute. No one else did.

In the end, one adult was treated in the ambulance and later that evening ended up in the emergency room for damage to his eyes. One teacher hurt her arm bad enough to need a doctor. I tasted the mace for a few hours and my eyes are still burning.

In the end, two children were given five day suspensions, two were given three days, and the rest earned a one day rest from school.

It’s parent conference time and I’m in my room waiting. So far about half of my parents have come. It’s getting dark outside. I’m at the computer typing. Lunch break has now ended. Back to work.


Blogger wojo said...

I am so sorry this happened to any one. We, your peers are out here. We are reading what you write you are not alone.

I hope this next week is more peaceful for everyone

4:38 PM  

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