““I need to get the f— out of Baltimore,” he said, glancing nervously around the room.
Conversations like this happen every day in classrooms across the city. From children who are scared that they “will be the next one on @MurderInk” to kids who beg their family members to send them to stay with a relative out of state, the persistent mood of young adults in this town is terror.
Our city is slaughtering black children.
Last year, Baltimore was declared the most dangerous city in America. Our schools are conducting the business of education in a war zone. We are out manned and out gunned.
How we got here is certainly up for debate. One thing is certain: The school choice system in Baltimore, a product of misguided and dangerous reforms, uses standardized test scores as a gatekeeper. Because trauma cannot be checked at the testing room door, students experiencing it often fail to meet expectations. The result is a tracking system that aggregates trauma in certain nodes of the city.
We see the results. We are halfway through the school year and already three students connected to Frederick Douglass have been killed. I taught two of them (one current, one alumnus). No grief counselors were sent. On Feb. 8th, a student apparently felt so affronted by an experience at the school that a relative tried to kill a staff member.
The violence that breached our school doors is not new. My total number of current and former students killed has reached double digits. Last year, a student was shot eight times and yet managed to survive. He comes to school every day in a wheelchair, with two bullets still inside of him.
If this were happening in white, suburban schools, a state of emergency would already be well underway. Instead, we slash budgets and tell the teachers to just make do.”
Baltimore is everywhere.
Baltimore teacher: ‘Our city is slaughtering black children’
Last week, a student asked me where he could purchase AR-500 steel plates. “Why?” I asked him with my eyebrow raised. I studied his face. He wasn’t joking, he was scared. “For a bullet proof vest,” he responded. “I have everything but the plates.” This is life for black children in Bal…