By: Jackie Gibbs
Last week some of you turned on your television sets to find the chaos of yet another disturbance at Linden McKinley High School. For those who didn’t, the second lock down within only the first semester occurred. According to the news, another riot broke out at LMSA involving two girls, one of them being pregnant, who began the quarrel over a boy. Students near by had inflamed the situation by getting involved. It was reported that thirty cop cars as well as a few helicopters surrounded the school building for two hours until many of the students were sedated with mace and evacuated. It was also believed that a weapon was involved. While the news projected the image of this mishap from the outside, only instilling more negative banter about the reputation of LMSA, I am going to lead you to the heart of the matter.
While the commotion took place, my classroom partook in games to deter students from getting involved by contacting parents on their cellular devices. During incidents such as these, it is most important for the teachers to keep the parents from getting involved in order to avoid drama. One of the security guards stepped into our classroom and began a speech that was very necessary. He began with, ”Today I saw wild animals and gorillas.” Disappointment in his voice and the truth within his eyes was enough to calm the group of thirty students who normally, impossible to silence, sat stone cold while he spoke. He went on to explain his understanding of the reality of life beyond the walls of LMSA by sharing with the students about the murder of his uncle and the catastrophic incident of his daughter having been shot in the foot two years ago. “The actions caused by the students at LMSA are sabotaging our reputation and embarrassing this school.” He pointed out,
“One day we’re gonna get old and we need you to be around to take care of us so, don’t let the disease of ignorance get in the way of what is important.
There is no questioning to the fact that the main source of the disturbances that go on at LMSA are caused by the violence and neighborhood drama brought in from the Linden Community. The sad truth is that parents do get involved and not to break up the fights, but rather to partake in them with their children. It’s all a protection thing, which becomes a cycle that is hard to break. Because these parents lived the LMSA reputation, now their children are following in their footsteps and it becomes a life born into.
A few days after the incident, I spoke with several of my ninth grade students about their thoughts on the matter. While one student stated, “It doesn’t affect me cuz I wasn’t in it.” Another student, who wasn’t present that Thursday said, “I’m disappointed in my fellow students.” I asked about the consistency of name-calling and bullying present in the school and a student replied, “Sometimes it be just for fun, but when comments become personal that’s when things get violent.” I went on to ask for suggestions on how to avoid riots and in defense another student said, “Middle School makes more drama because they are more immature.”
As I sit and contemplate the outcome of last Thursday and watch as life goes on in the school as it did before, I realize that it is inevitable to stop incidents such as these. It’s the words of those, in this school, who lead the children everyday that inspire the hope that holds the community of Linden together. I hope my students never forget the last words spoken by the security guard before he walked out the door, “Pay attention to school because it’s your education that will get you out of this, roses come out of concrete.”