Sunday, August 15, 2010
Will The Closing Of Neighborhood High Schools In New York City Result In Increasing Violence To Students Like In Chicago?
I was watching NBC's Dateline on the violence perpetrated on teenagers, especially high school students. Shockingly, one of the primary reasons for the increased violence was the closing of many of the neighborhood high schools in Chicago, requiring students to travel long distances to other schools that may be in the territory of a rival gang. The result has been increased violence against these students and even homicide. In Chicago there were 280 major attacks on students and 32 homicides. The Chicago police believe that the violence wold be less if the students stayed in their own neighborhood but with so many high schools closed, more students are required to travel further away from the safety of their neighborhood to attend school. While the Superintendent of Schools claims that this is not true, the police, and parents of attacked students feel differently.
Now travel to New York City where the DOE wants to follow the example of Chicago in a mass closing of neighborhood high schools (19 were slated for closing until the courts stopped the DOE). Just like in Chicago, the replacement schools will limit the amount of "at risk" students to the schools and usually has a total school population of less than half of the closed school. This requires many students to travel long distances to get to the few schools who accept them. Since this means traveling into other neighborhoods and yes, different gangs in that neighborhood, what do you think will happen? Yes more violence.
For example, one of the high schools slated to close is in a "Crips neighborhood". One of the few schools who will take the "at risk" students from the closing school is located in a "Bloods neighborhood". I'm sure you can figure out what will happen in and out of the school as the students travel long distances into enemy territory. However, just like Chicago, the DOE has seemed to ignore that inconvenient problem and are closing their collective minds to the potential upsurge in student violence due to the closing of the neighborhood schools. Will it take a Dateline story to release that closing the neighborhood high schools just puts those students at greater risk to gang violence but then again it is not about the students but just part of Tweed's "children last" policy.