Angel Woz, Chris, Boston discussed on Radio Specials
Here's NEMA of Ashiya. So last November On a Friday, two of my former students, Chris and Nanny came back to visit and in general, that's not weird. Kids kind of no Fridays are open office hours. Come back check in with Mrs Fascia, but this Friday was different. We were just coming back to chitchat or do homework. They were coming back to grieve and I didn't really know how I was going to do that with them. And that was weird for me because I'm a civics teacher. And that means I spend my whole year teaching kids about their rights and how government works and how to be an engaged. It isn't And the kind of seen me is it's like the Mr Fire, and so even after they graduate I get texts on just got stopped by the cops. What do I need to do, or my mom's trying to go get her citizenship? What should I do? That's kind of our relationship, and I'm used to knowing the answers or if I don't know the answer. I know how to get it. Um, but earlier in that week, we had all discovered that their former classmate and my former student angel had been killed in gun violence in our neighborhood. And Angel Woz. This goofy, funny kid. He loved everybody in his class. He made funny faces and told corny jokes. He begged me a fruitcake the day before Christmas, which makes fruitcakes anymore. You know, he was he was Not that you ever think any kid is going to end up in that situation, But it just would have never occurred to me that that was going to be a situation and we were all reeling, and he was the fourth former student who had died for me in a year. And so they were coming back. And I felt this pressure of like, I'm supposed to take them through this, but like I'm not through this, like I don't know how to do this. For the first hour and didn't matter. They were sobbing, and my shirt was soaked and like, that's what we did for about an hour. They're also adolescent boys and humor is kind of their go to cope. And so after about an hour, it kind of went from crying to telling stories and then to telling funny stories. And they started to tell me about how, at the end of their eighth grade year, they had this plot to spray paint the principal's car. This particular principle only lasted a year. He was kind of a dictator he liked to pick fights. He was suspended for wearing a hood. Kids didn't like him. Teachers didn't like him and they wanted revenge. So Angel decided to go buy some scraping. But he bought black spray paint on the principal's car was black. This was not gonna work. And Miami at that point in the story, and I don't know the story until then opens his bag and he pulls out the can of spray paint, and he's like I've been carrying this around all week. Like I don't know what to do. On. I say, I think I know what we should do. I think we need to go tag something, And you should know that I'm not just a civics teacher during the damn kind like a civics geek at night. Like in Boston. We have an app called Boss 311, where you can like report things like There's a down tree come fixing or there's a dance girl in the road. Come remove, and I am obsessed with this happened. I report things all the time, and I read other people's reports on you know, like kids know this about me. They know I don't drive more than five miles above the speed limit. I've never used any kind of controlled substance any uncontrolled substance and just I'm pretty square. I know this And so Chris, who's generally very quiet is like what you're you're suggesting that we go do something illegal right now. He's like, I don't think I understand. You're a civics teacher. You're not supposed to do this. What they didn't know is that for the previous eight months, I had been trying to meet with city leaders with the superintendent with street workers with anyone. I could get Tau Listen. The fact that in Boston last year 16 young people under the age of 19 were killed. It was a massive spike. More than a quarter of the homicides in the city were kids and all that for remind And I was doing all of this advocacy and it wasn't doing anything. And it also wasn't helping me. I didn't come away feeling better. And then there was this spray can and I was like, Well, nothing else has worked. Being a civics teacher and using those strategies hasn't accomplished anything so Here's a freakin and maybe we should use it. So it was dark. We've been talking for several hours. We went behind the school, and there was like a concrete jersey barrier that the cops had put out to prevent people from doing illicit things behind the school. We're about to do an elicit thing way basically took terms tagging the barrier and in Boston. I don't know if this is true in other places when young people are killed. Their friends in the community. Create a hashtag. So we tag Hashtag Angels world on the barrier. And we put our flashlights out on our phones and kind of let it up. We've got a broken desk and we've turned into a tripod. And we took pictures of ourselves. And Chris was like angel and loved and he was like, I'm sorry if I shit I forgot. You were my teacher for a second and I said No, You're totally right. And I would love this. And in that moment that like hierarchy between teacher and student, it just kind of flattened right and we were just morning. And we were trying to figure out how to connect with Angel on how to connect with each other. So we took our pictures, some with me in them some without me and them. And as we walked to my car so I could drive the home. I said You better not picked post pictures with me in them on the Internet that could get me fired because of the end of the day. I'm still there. Civics teacher. Thank you. That.