The final school bell will ring.
The choir of children and teens will scream and spill onto the streets. Many of them will be laughing and saying their goodbyes.
The teachers will tell some students how proud of them they are, while they will be glad to see the problem students become another teacher’s headache.
Graduating eighth-graders will look forward to freshman year at various high schools across the city.
Guest speakers at these graduations will speak of promise and dreams, of hope and hard work.
Parents will waste money on lavish gifts, limousines, party buses and expensive celebrations.
But they may fail to mention that some of these celebrations and goodbyes will be final.
Class of 2012, I would like to welcome you to the Chicago summer of 2012.
Nobody wishes ill, but there is an inevitable danger that accompanies above 80-degree temperatures. If Memorial Day weekend was any hint of how the rest of the summer is going to go, it’s time for parents, teachers and community leaders to be real with these kids.
In that single weekend, 40 people were shot and 10 were killed.
All the praying by local preachers or pastors will not stop the violence. While I am not discouraging any attempts to deter crime, the internalization of poverty is just as powerful.
I used to be naive in thinking if someone just made better decisions, worked hard and committed themselves to a specific dream, they could beat the demons of the ghetto.
I used to feed into the hype that hope was all you needed. And while some may slip through the cracks and become successful, way too many will fail.
Truth is, some future college student will walk into a college classroom and realize they were a product of an inferior education system. And if they are not dedicated enough, they will get discouraged and may drop out.
I am done ignoring what is staring me directly in the face. And maybe we all should.
Truth is, some of your children already display signs of sociopaths. Instead of just ignoring it, how about some form of intervention?
The way I see it, some preachers couldn’t do anything else but preach: Twenty members in one building, where seven more storefront churches sit on the same block, doesn’t constitute a congregation. It takes away tax dollars from the Chicago Public Schools because those no property taxes are collected from those buildings.
Some parents could use an entire school year dedicated to parenting alone. Sending your kids to a certain local inpatient psychiatric facility for babysitting doesn’t cut it.
It seems like we are saying that we owe criminals second chances. We talk about financing programs for ex-offenders, but non-offenders are having it just as rough.
I will reiterate that cops need to be out walking the beat.
As much of an impact that CeaseFire has it is still a program that uses reformed gangbangers to settle disputes.
More street fairs and community centers need to establish to cut down on boredom or lack of employment.
If the class of 2012 will have any chance of surviving this bloody, senseless summer, we need to address the issue of how much we facilitate the problem.