Tales from an inner city high school

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I work at an inner city high school in a poor black neighborhood. The student population is 99% African American, 40% special ed, and has a 50% drop out rate. It was rated the worst school in the city three years ago and had to be shut down. It reopened into three smaller schools with new administrations and new programs, but with all the same problems.

I started out in September with no experience and no training. I was idealistic and excited, and I had no idea what I was in for.


The kids let me know yesterday that no one was going to show up today. I still wasn't prepared for my class size to go from almost 40 kids in each class to an average of 5. A "ghost town" is what one of the clever students called it.

Most of the other teachers had nothing planned and I dropped my plans for the day and put in a movie. They didn't want to watch what I brought so one of the kids put in a movie called "Ghetto Fights 2"

"Ghetto Fights 2" is a compilation of amateur footage of street fights in the ghetto. Sometimes its two people that get into an argument and then start physically fighting. Sometimes its just a dude jumping another dude and then absolutely kicking the shit out of him. Most of the fights happened at night so most of the video is in nightvision. It is ghetto in all respects.

The kids love it. They cheered and clapped and hollered when there was a video of a dude stomping on another guys head. It was so brutal and so obviously real that I couldn't watch. It was kind of horrifying watching them love it so much. I know there are other videos like that where you can watch people get hurt and its funny, but this is some serious stuff. Here is a link to a clip, but I'm warning you, you will not be able to stop watching it.

The scariest thing about Ghetto Fights is that the kids here fight the same way. There was a fight between two girls a couple weeks ago where when one girl went down the other girl starting kicking her in the face. in the face! She had to go to the emergency room. The student body was in an uproar, they were so excited that had gone down. They couldn't concentrate all day and they kept pretending to kick each other in the face. It was like a nightmare.