Saturday, May 10, 2008

"My School" Appreciation Day

I teach at a very passive, upscale, suburban school. The students are, for the most part, great people to work with; they're also very malleable and relatively sheltered. Many think they know what it's like "on the other side", but I'm sure many of those have absolutely no clue. Honestly, I don't think our students have any idea how good they have it. The few fights that took place on campus this year attract large crowds because they're so darned rare.

We have very few fights on our campus. The vast majority of our students feel physically safe on campus. We don't have uniformed security or police on our campus. We have kids dress in gang fashion (and the administration addresses it rapidly), but they wouldn't last 10 seconds if confronted by genuine gang members; neither would I, but I don't dress like a wannabe, either. Being upscale there's a lot of money on campus, which means a lot of drugs--but it's not problem that makes itself known with any frequency. A large percentage of our students go on to college or university, and a goodly number attend top tier schools.

In other words, our students have no experience that events like this can happen at schools.

So they're relatively naive, but that's a good thing in this case. Students shouldn't have to worry about their physical safety at school.


Kelvin Oliver said...

I'm glad to hear how you described your school and the atmosphere. All schools are not alike. I read the story that you linked to yesterday and I was at awe because I can't imagine nor have I heard that many students fighting. Maybe a few of those were trying to fight.

Since it has been only a year since I've been out of high school, and now completed first year of college, I don't remember having the need to feel worried there. After two years at my high school, it was basically going back to school, nothing new far as the students and the fights. This includes the safety issues. It is always nice to get a teacher's perspective on their own school. Very well written post.

W.R. Chandler said...

My God! And I thought the fight we had on Friday at my campus was a huge deal.

The news media is loath to report it, but there is a virtual war going on in Los Angeles right now between the blacks and Latinos. Latino gang members - many of them illegal aliens - troll the streets of South Central L.A. and randomly shoot/kill any blacks they see.

As the black population of L.A. declines and the Hispanic population grows and expands into traditionally black areas, you are going to see more orgies of violence like this.

Thanks for making me aware of this incident.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Yeah, I see stuff like that and think, Wow. Your tax dollars at work. A case has been made here for permanently removing students with ongoing disciplinary problems who are not disabled.

Bless you for your blog and the interesting ideas and opinions you and your readers put forth on a regular basis. :]

Unknown said...

Wow. There were 89 students in my graduating class. There weren't 600 in the whole school.

Fights, yes, but no brawls.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, how do you define a top-tier school?

Darren said...

I use the term here to refer to the highly selective, high-name-recognition schools. In California those would be Cal-Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Cal Poly, and Stanford.

Ellen K said...

We have seen quite an uptick in fights, including one where a former student of mine got the crap beat out of him for defending a girl against a gangster who was hitting her. That being said, the issue was addressed. But in our area, which is an upscale suburban area of Dallas, we have two main groups that participate in fights and gang style activity. The first group is largely composed of kids in and out of school that were moved here from Katrina. Houston has an exponential version of this problem which has led to a marked increase in homicides. It's not racial, it's regional. Most of our local African American kids are trying to steer clear of such activity, but a few get sucked into it. The other group are largely Hispanic and come from an area of town new to our school. It was a blatant attempt to break up gangs at a neighboring school. Some of the kids are wonderful and love being away from the gang lifestyle, but a few including several 18 year old freshmen, use their dubious charms to lure younger kids into the gang lifestyle. These are not wannabes. Some have long records already. Several have been removed from school. Many of them have stated that they are here illegally, but we can't use that leverage to remove them. So teachers have to endure litanies of insults in Spanish which often cause fights and disruptions. That's not to say other kids aren't troublemakers because we have the normal share of druggies, malcontents and such in all ethnic and age groups, but the texture of the school changed to a fight every week when the Katrina kids came, and now we are having threats from outside of school against kids in school from Hispanic gangs. One of my kids told me he sleeps with a baseball bat because he and his sisters have been threatened. And this is in an upscale suburban setting. I can't even imagine how much worse it is in Dallas ISD or Houston ISD.