The Great Divide

Most of you know that I have two schools in the hood, and another one out in suburbia. The contrast between the demographics is amazing: in one area it feels like every phone call I make is a disturbance to the parents; in the other, parents are breathing down my neck and demanding to see accident reports. In one area, a white girl like myself is like being "a fly in a bowl of milk" as my health clerk calls me, in the other, I have not once been able to practice my weak Spanish skills. But the difference between the demographics is never more apparent than during special events/days/weeks. For example, on September 11th, my suburbia school got a "field trip" to walk to the park next door to meet some firemen transporting a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. Back in the ghetto, there was nothing. It's Red Ribbon Week, and in suburbia, every child is wearing an "It's my responsibility to be drug free" ribbon, classroom doors are decorated, every pillar has a red ribbon tied onto it in a lovely bow-tie, and there was an assembly that supposedly incorporated an anti-drug message into a skateboard/bike demonstration - including a half-pipe set up on the blacktop. Back in the ghetto, there's not been a single mention of it. I know that suburbia kids need to hear the anti-drug message as loudly as the ghetto kids, but I also think the ghetto kids need to hear the message as loudly as the suburbia ones do. (Yes, I said equally loud. There was a time - before drug training - I'd have claimed my ghetto kids needed it more, but kids of all backgrounds are users, just different kinds of drugs. Ritalin, anyone?)


  1. Here in Kansas the PTO (or PTA depending where you are at) is responsible for raising funds for Red Ribbon Week (as we are having it as well), is it the same in your schools? That could explain the great divide in the two schools since parents are less apt to help in the "ghetto" school as unfortunate as that is.

  2. That would totally explain it. Out in suburbia, the PTA president is basically at school full-time working her tail off. Back at my other schools, I've never even heard of their PTA.