Monday, February 25, 2013

Harper High School - gangs and violence in US schools

For stories about the most amazing staff, you must visit this high school via This American Life.
This American Life segments are devoted to the violence affecting Harper High School. During the 2011-2012 school years, 29 current and former students were shot. Twenty-one were wounded; eight died.

Guns are rampant in this neighbourhood. It shows how horrible they are with drive by shootings by gangs, and young children who witness death on a regular basis. What has helped in this school are supportive funding, which is about to run out, for special needs schools. Their multi-million dollar budget is about to lose $1.6 million next year, with staff cuts, including these miracle teachers.
Schools who are at risk for violence, social and emotional ills best remedied by social work intervention, supportive staff, breakfast programs, computers, emergency housing and clothing.

"I appreciate you in advance for getting to class on time!" One social worker declares.
I remember using this tactic in my classrooms: "Thank you for putting that into the recycling!" referring to a piece of paper on the floor. They do, surprisingly.

"We are not selling crack. Pull your pants up, nobody wants to see the crack of your butt, baby!" the principal tells one student! They are corrected with boundless love, joy and humour.

Harper High School, a Chicago public school located on the south side, serving the West Englewood neighborhood. The school was founded in 1911, and was named after William Rainey Harper, a noted educator, biblical scholar and university president. Harper serves a primarily African American population of approximately 638 students.
This school isn't the only one. It is indicative of the realities of many inner city schools.
One tweet, from a listener:

 tried, but can't listen anymore. Live this everyday. We don't get turnaround $$, just blame. Buried 6 from my classes 


487: Harper High School, Part One

FEB 15, 2013
We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. We found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter; Part One airs this week, Part Two is next week.


488: Harper High School, Part Two

FEB 22, 2013
We pick up where we left off last week in our second hour from Harper High School in Chicago. We find out if a shooting in the neighborhood will derail the school's Homecoming game and dance. We hear the origin story of one of Harper's gangs. And we ask a group of teenagers: where do you get your guns? Harper has set up a donation page here.

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