Four young girls got into a scrape on the yard. One nudged another in passing. The other took the nudge as a shove. Then came two right jabs, one left hook, a trail of tears, parent meetings, and a juicy black eye. I had just these bits and pieces – half-sketched details that hinted at […]
I thought I knew enough about a nine year-old named Manny. A stand-to-the-side kid who didn’t say much. Then, I caught him, his buddy Edgar, and two other kids just inside the school fence last Sunday. His friend Edgar had already been knocked down, and Manny prepared to return fire. He had his black hair combed straight […]
Tuesday morning, I scooted my way into school just before sunrise and from the start, I got little signals that the day would bring something different. For example, I fumbled in the dark to get my key into the lock on the school’s front door. Then, fingers of sunlight extended across the pre-dawn sky and a […]
Raymond, stout little boy with a loud mouth, popped off first: Dead rat in the trash can! Dead rat in the trash can!” The scream caught my ear. And even from across the playground, I could hear and see him pointing into the dented can. He kept up the racket: Dead rat! Eww! Six seconds later, two children ran […]
Fights begin with time and place. So, how about Tuesday? Lunch recess. Center basketball court. Then add two boys, Anthony and Marquis, who would face off three minutes before the recess’ final bell. On a mess of a Tuesday, one where kids had to stay packed in classrooms for an entire morning due to heavy […]
Evelyn kissed Hector. That much appears to have happened first. Little else about this fifth grade lip lock came to light except that they kissed near the dumpster, held hands for about five minutes and sat together on the monkey bars. I never saw the kissing but I did see them afterward: he in his […]
When it comes time to go, you get messages from everywhere. A thought turns to a nudge, and then to a shove. Tasks that you completed with ease become challenging. The mind refuses to generate convincing excuses for further delay. A great voice whispers, then rumbles, from deep inside your cells – Goodbye! Go! Today, for example, I stood in […]
Kids from the neighborhood, when they first come to school, bring along their street-ruled games. First rule: Stay in until you get flattened. As long as you can stand, you can play. Last long enough and you become a neighborhood titan. Isaiah – or Isaiah the Thin – was one such titan who could have […]
Showing up on time, everyday, has its rewards. Little Victoria, a third grader, found that out this week when she won the grand prize – a triple scoop of ice cream on a sugar cone. To celebrate her victory, she chose vanilla! This vanilla was said to be the best in town. For my part, […]
If I could lift a question up and hold high, it would be the one about breaking points. At what point does a child break? And, since breaks are sometimes brutal, what benefit comes of them? Couldn’t we sidestep them all together? For example: What good came of a fight just a block from the school […]
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