Friday, August 24, 2007

Number 201

The Baltimore Sun might not have information about the victim's name in this shooting, but the teachers at Booker T. know all about it. The victim would have started the eighth grade on Monday.

The teachers don't cry when they talk about Ishmael. Some of them get a kind of glassy far-away look, but it passes quickly. They've seen this too many times to get worked up. Ish might be more than a statistic to them, but their focus is still on Monday and those students who will return. Perhaps they saw this end coming? Perhaps they're thinking of others in sixth and seventh grade, the potential Ishmaels? I don't know.

I spent this morning drawing a poster of a totally ripped brain lifting weights. I also moved boxes of books, made letter cards, and hung charts. When my mentor heard about Ish she paused for a few seconds, then continued organizing her classroom. She called her boyfriend and told him about it and was obviously emotional for perhaps thirty seconds. And then she was talking about karaoke and duck pin bowling over at Patterson Park. There is a lot of work to do, but the teachers are already planning Friday night debauches.

We had a team meeting about disciplinary procedures. An old veteran--one of the wheezing brontosauri--told me: "You need to talk to these young men if you see them get in your mentor's face. You need to practice what you are going to say if you see someone getting out of hand. Practice your tone of voice. You need to be prepared to step in." She knew Ishmael since the sixth grade.


John Vondracek said...

even more than the ominous number 201, I find interesting the Baltimore Sun's announcement for the paltry $2,000 reward for information. Is that what a 13 year old's life is going for these days? I guess so...

geoff said...

In some parts of town $2k is an unimaginable fortune.