Sunday, March 15, 2009

"These are Baghdad numbers. These are war zone numbers"

From our local paper, the Commercial Appeal, comes this article about the latest child to be murdered in Memphis.

On March 11th, an entire floor of Hamilton High School students erupted into a fight between the Bloods and the Crips. Ten kids were arrested, many were hurt, and one of the kids who was arrested and released that day, Rozelle Green, was fatally shot that evening in a spillover of the school fight.

Parents had been concerned about potential violence at Hamilton since 2007 when the school board voted to merge Southside High and Hamilton High, forcing students from rival neighborhoods and gangs together. The Memphis City Schools system merged the schools due to a drop of enrollment at Southside and a desire to continue to provide those students with access to a variety of academic and enrichment programs.

Now, in the name of free market education and closing down failing schools, school mergers are becoming even more common, as well as increased violence and deaths of school children. No more so than in Arne Duncan's former school district, http://http//,chicago-school-violence-record-cps-031109.article , where 508 students have been shot in the last 16 months. Five hundred eight school children shot in one and a half school years.
17-year-old Rozelle Green Jr. dreamed of being a High School Graduate. He would have graduated in two months.

Rozelle "Kept telling me, 'Dad I'm going to graduate,'" Green's father, Rozelle Green, Sr., said Friday.
Green's sister, Markisha Wilson, says life will never be the same without her big brother. "He made me laugh when I was mad," she said. "We used to be together all the time."
Green was shot to death outside his girlfriend's house Wednesday night.

"I ran to where he was at and when I got there he was laying out in the grass, and they said he had no pulse," his father said.

Wilson added Rozelle recently received a reward from school for "Most Improved," saying the school's new principal made an impact on him. "He really did help my son out," she said.

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