2002-01-31 - 6:18 p.m.
Today began with rain, but when I walked out of the building this afternoon, there was a Simpsons sky. Very pretty.
I've never felt unsafe at work before, not in six years of working there. However, the gang crap has proliferated to such an extent that they are talking of searching kids for guns at school. It is unreal. This week we have had 3 gang-related fights, marijuana possession and use, and an incident of sexual harassment (which got thrown out because the girl didn't seem upset that the boy in question, someone she didn't even know, grabbed her upper thigh and squeezed it --- utter bullshit --- all that means is that she has been socialized to believe it's OK for guys to use her like that and that is wrong). I never have to write discipline referrals, and yet today I actually ended up citing two boys. They started with some horseplay in my room and disrupted the entire class. Unbelievable. On the way home I couldn't help but notice how much more gang graffiti and tagging there is around the school. I can't tell you how serious I think this problem is. There is a real difference in how motivated these kids are compared to in previous years, even the ones who aren't gang affiliated. Increased gang and drug activity has a long term impact, regardless of whether the kids are only involved in these things for a short time. A couple of years is long enough to destroy your school career and any hope of college, especially if you are dependent upon scholarships; it's also long enough to get you killed or maimed. And the ambiance of the school has an impact on the kids who have nothing to do with gangs because the staff members are so busy trying to deal with problems that the "good" kids get shortchanged. And school should be a safe place for all the kids and it is our duty to protect them, but at the same time, I don't think it's a fair occupational hazard for me to have to worry about being shot. If I were a cop or a soldier, I could see that as a fair expectation, though I wouldn't be too pleased about it. But I didn't become a teacher with the understanding that I would be dealing with guns, etc. It is unfair to expect schools to take on all of these additional burdens. My job is to educate kids, not be a counselor and police officer and parent to them.
Rant over, for now. I know I haven't been around here much. This point of the year is definitely the most stressful for me. And with the added stress of house stuff, I've been off my game a bit. My birthday is this weekend, and I want to make the whole weekend one of relaxation and zero stress ... if such a thing is possible. The house is almost complete.