Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This Shouldn't Be Possible

A student was beaten to death outside Fenger High School last week. Apparently students were beating on the door of the high school, asking to be let in, and weren't allowed in the building. According to Chicago Public Radio, students still in class were able to watch the fight from their classroom windows.

I didn't think the story could get more horrifying until I heard that report on the radio this morning.

I bitch about my students and how ridiculous they can be sometimes, but when something like this happens, I'm reminded again of all the challenges they have to deal with on a daily basis. I guess I should be grateful my students bother coming to school at all. Coming to school or walking home from school should not be a life or death situation. But it is.

The question, as always, is what are we doing about it? Our mayor is in Denmark rallying for the 2016 Olympics. We don't have enough police officers, and the ones we do have are working without a contract. We are doing nothing to deal with poverty. We still think this is not our problem -- and I guess until middle class students are getting beaten to death outside of school, it won't be.

My students haven't talked about this much. My seniors read an excerpt from Primo Levi's memoir of Auschwitz yesterday, and we were discussing the horrors of the Holocaust. I mentioned that we don't seem to have learned much from that tragedy -- that we are still really good at killing each other. The beating was brought up then, but no one seemed to want to talk about it.

I want to have faith that things will get better, but I have absolutely no evidence that they will.

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