My Work

It’s rare that I write about my job on here. I have done it 2 times if I remember correctly. I wrote this post in January of 2012 – then I wrote this one in December of 2012 – I haven’t touched on the subject since.

On Friday we had a lockout at our school as SWAT teams went flying past our front door – Police were everywhere and a helicopter hovered over the top of the school. Literally atop of us. Students were in fear all day. Yelling about ISIS, asking if they were going to get shot, asking me to double-check that the doors were locked.

Why all of this? Because an off duty police officer saw a 33-year-old man pull out a gun right up the street from us and try to shoot someone.

In broad daylight.

Last year we had a murder in a house across the street from the building.

This year we have had 3 within a mile of the building. Stabbings, shooting, etc.


Today, our school is literally wrapped in crime scene tape……… but it’s for a car accident.


The issue is this; Our school looks like the schools that have been victims of mass shootings. Parents were calling the school saying they didn’t know if they should come in. I had to tell almost every parent I saw “it’s a motor vehicle accident, everything is safe.”


What the hell kind of place is this that our children are surrounded by this violence every single day, that even a car accident leaves us constantly reassuring people they are safe. Let’s try this. I am going to send you to work, I am going to threaten you, scare you, all day long interrupt you. I am going to make the place you live a place of fear and the commute to work scary as hell. I am going to make you feel you might get jumped in the parking lot, and make sure you hide all valuables in your car so nothing is stolen. I am going to send someone in who has a temper tantrum once a week and throws your computer, desk, and all your paperwork all over the room. I am going to do this every single day. Day after day, month after month, year after year. Then I am going to ask you to perform well at your job.

That is what we are doing to these kids.


You would find a new job really soon, there is no way you could  handle that. The issue is that our students can’t just move on or move away. They are children. They are stuck.

Then once we do all of that. We will blame the teachers for the poor performance on state testing and graduation rates. This is insane. That mindset is a wrong.

Students and sometimes even teachers are living, learning, and working in a trauma unit over here and you want to blame the teachers for some test scores that most of the parents in the burbs would fail?

I am not a teacher employed by the district. I teach an anti-violence program funded by a non-profit. I have for years. By the standards my co-teachers are held to, I would have been fired years ago. The powers that be would have told me “You are not good enough, there is still violence.”

Can you imagine? What If Doctors were fired because people still got sick? Dentists got fired because people still got cavities?

I am actually pretty good at what I do. So tell me all the different folks who have supervised me over the years. So if I am pretty good at it  – Why does nothing change?

Because in my heart – I don’t think we really want it to. The divide in this country is as strong as it has ever been when it comes to this topic. We have created economic segregation. It’s a simple fact. Poverty is a dangerous animal. I am not sure we really want to help tackle it. It makes us feel “better” if we don’t live in it. Better is nicer after all isn’t it?

People sit in their office, go home in the nice car to the nice home, with the safe streets, and the warm meals. They turn on the news, hear of another shooting and then say something like “Look at those animals killing each other in the city”. They turn off the news, tuck in the kids for bed, and then every few years get fear mongered into voting for people who love to keep it the way it is.

You know, because to help children who live in these circumstances is “them”  “taking my money” “How will they learn if we keep feeding them.”


When you refuse to support programs that you believe are going to adults who “take advantage of the system” What you are really doing is withholding opportunity  from kids because you want 69 cents more in your paycheck every  week. In 2012, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 per year paid just $36 towards the food stamps program and welfare program.

Blame the teachers though. Because none of the real issues matter to people who haven’t seen it and refuse to be any part of the solution.

It’s us versus them.

They are the problem. Right?

It’s sad…. every day.

It’s work.

My work.

Try not judging it for a day. OK?



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