September 18, 2012

No Child’s Play

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It surely is a jungle out there, in the real world. But the blackboard jungle isn’t always much easier to navigate. Along the gritty corridors of Malcolm X High School in the Bronx, N.Y., students pass through metal detectors en route to class, under the gaze of an irate security guard. (The procedure makes airport security at J.F.K. look like a breeze.) Teachers bark at 16-year-olds to sit down and be quiet. Reserving facilities is a battle of guts and wits, since Malcolm X High shares a building with three other schools. “We are the worst class,” a group of 10th graders declares repeatedly, like some sort of mantra. The students are jaded and expect every new teacher to abandon them, just like all the ones who came before. Bars, invisible or otherwise, are everywhere.

Original Author: Daveen Koh

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