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February 28, 2012
new orleans education RIP words

When we lay boring words to rest, they fly to heaven on angel wings bearing more interesting words. RIP Big: The man had a pregnant face.

Another student of ours was arrested today. At least this time they didn’t have him cuffed in the hallway during lunch like they did to one of my homeroom kids during lunch back in October. That day we had six police officers outside my room during lunch with my student standing there, cuffed in his uniform shirt. Students went to the bathroom passing him by like it was any other Wednesday. Felony rape charges. He was 15 and his 13 year old ex-girlfriend was pregnant, the second girl he had gotten pregnant in the last six months. He never came back to school.

No, this time they had administration bring the student outside. They decided not to interrupt the learning that goes on in our school building. Kind, I suppose. It would have caused a ruckus, like the ruckus we had when a gaggle of children were screaming at each other over a bag of fancy writing pens in the hallway. Or the stir caused by the surprising appearance of a mother to fight another mother on school property.

Today’s arrested student is being charged with 1st degree murder and possession of marijuana they apparently found in his social studies notes. This is a very newsworthy case: Good Samaritan shot in the chest trying to prevent a car jacking.

My school director reminds me our kids are innocent until proven guilty, I say not a bit tongue in cheek. I have to as I’ve spent the last 8 months waiting for yet another 15 year old student’s trial on an armed grand theft auto charge which the DA sheepishly claims they have no evidence for except — ugh– yet another student’s word.  Fifteen, being tried as an adult, no previous record, and getting no book education for the last 8 months. Where will he be when (if) he gets out? Another year behind, tough for my babies who are all trailing by at least 2 years.

I know it’s a hot topic, especially in severely criminal urban settings like New Orleans. What do we do with the crime? And how does it stop? As teachers, do we love our students any less knowing they sit before us with a violent social life and an incarceration record as long as my college transcript? I’m an optimist. Sort of. A cynical one. I believe that people are intrinsically good. I think we all have the ability to do the best we can with what we have. Some of us just have more or choose to offer it up because we can’t see any other way. And now, after typing this and not editing, I realize why I feel like pulpy, spoiled orange juice most days. My peel is gone and I’ve been squeezed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. moonmaid permalink
    February 28, 2012 10:28 pm

    My favorite kid goes to court this month for a felony pot charge. 17 and stands the chance of getting kicked out of school 2 months before graduation. He’s given up and has started cutting class again, after pulling amazing grades the 1st 6 weeks of the semester. This may get him sent to jail school again. His girlfriend is having a baby in April. He’s registered for community college and wanted to be a firefighter, but the charge will probably nix that. He’s been hanging out on the street and smoking weed with his boys since he was 12 – no dad around. He’s only just understanding that his poor choices of friends and things to do the past 5 years will affect his life in a bad way. He’s the only high school student who ever sent me a thank you note – he’s actually sent me a few. I’ve taken to buying St. Jude candles and lighting them. His counselor thinks I’m insane and my husband doesn’t understand at all. I can’t help him and I’m watching him destroy his life. And still every afternoon he goes to his crappy McDonald’s job. Polite with a work ethic. If he’d had someone in his life who gave a damn at age 12 or 13, he’d be fielding scholarship offers. It makes me sick.

  2. February 28, 2012 10:49 pm

    This happened 5 blocks from my house and literally in my friend’s front yard. It was such a weird thing to happen, because this doesn’t happen on the Point, especially in broad daylight, especially with witnesses standing around.

    There’s was already something completely effed up about this situation (even without a father losing his life). This was someone acting out of desperation. My sympathies go out to the family of the dead man, but also to the kid who thought this was an option. I’m happy that someone has been arrested but sick that it was a kid.

  3. February 29, 2012 8:10 am

    you leave me speechless with stories and endings like this. i want to hug you but not squeeze anymore juice out of you!

    i wish everyone could read your blog and see how things really are. or attempt to teach and see for themselves.

    the pregnant face description is pretty fantastic in my mind! 🙂

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