(This is the first in a four-part series.)
As the cheerless news made its way around the office an appropriate sense of somberness sunk in. smiles turned to solemnity, delight was shaken by the tremors of despair, happiness morphed instantly into heaviness. A 12-year-old boy had been shot in the back at a South-Side middle school. A gang member had shot him just days after violent threats had been posted on his Facebook wall. This “gang member” was his 14-year-old classmate.
Chew on that.
Explain that to me, please.
What kind of sense is there in a kid that young being shot down, in public, at school, by a classmate.
The reason this hit our office so hard was because it happened at one of our schools. We concluded our after school program there just last month, our after school program which began each day at almost the exact time that the shooting occurred.
Yes, we are an educational company, but we are also a safe haven for these kids who are surrounded by violence.
I may have started here on the sole impetus that I needed money; however, that reasoning alone cannot sustain anyone for as long as I have been here. I have to jump in. I have to acknowledge the awful facts around me, the reality of the lives of the students that we serve.
The dark cloud hung over the office for most of the morning. The eventual response was to push this tragedy out of our minds, forget and move on. No one mentioned it the next day. No one wanted to.