In the school I work at, not a day goes by without some kind of physical or verbal assault. Sometimes it's precipitated by racial prejudices between the Puerto Ricans and African-Americans. Other times there are inner racial and religious discriminations that occur. In other circumstances, a fight may break out over a mere pencil. Whatever the cause, hatred is ever prevalent, giving birth to acts of strategic cruelty. Sadly, some of our students derive a misguided sense of importance from the power they feel when they are able to intimidate through words or physical acts that
Many of our students come from broken homes where a sense of well-being and the healthy development of a solid self-esteem are not often found. Through various parent/guardian conferences, I have found that my students' parents are struggling with their own issues and are unable to provide the kind of stability that nurtures domestic harmony. It is not surprising that we have students who engage in aggressive acts, finding themselves in the office or suspended so often that they seem to be out of class more often than they are in class. As I watch various scenarios unfold, I wonder how many of our students will fall victim to the seduction of gangs that give kids a sense of power and importance--a place where they can find some distorted semblance of belonging. Also, I wonder how many will become innocent victims of gangs whose reason for hating them will simply be that they were born into a different race.