June 2, 2008


Teaching is consistently surreal, but Tuesday might have set a record. A senior - Mon, who asked me out in all apparent seriousness last winter - was walking by my car when I got to school with a three-year-old, a little boy in one of those adorably adult jacket and floppy hat combinations, holding onto his left hand. It was his son.

Mon was there to give his senior project presentation on gangs, which he managed to do around 1:40. Most of the presentation consisted of a history of the Crips and their relationship to the Black Panthers, along with some pseudo-academic filler and quite a bit about gang signs and symbols. I sat in my classroom watching him draw gang signs on my chalkboard and explain which ones were for Crips and which for Bloods, and at the end he gave a rather incoherent plea to keep kids out of gangs through better parenting.

Afterwards, I asked him about it. Let's get real - you're in a gang, or you've said you are, and you have a son. Are you trying to keep your son out of the gang? Do you actually think gangs are bad?

No, he said. Around my way, it's more like a family - we look out for each other. And it might have some bad things to it, but it's a way for people to come together and I really don't see nothing wrong in it.

Then he went upstairs to collect his son from the ELECT office where he was napping, and I emailed him and the other teacher his grade.

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