Wednesday, June 15, 2005

JEFF HIGH HEAD ROLLS
After three incidents of violence at Jefferson High School, school supe. Roy Romer has replaced its principal, Norm Morrow. The new principal will be Juan Flecha who will move from his current position at Eagle Rock High School. Something about this smacks of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Despite what mayor-elect Antonio V. said about Morrow ("My sense, frankly, is that things are out of control," and "I don't get the sense that anyone was in charge.") my sense is that the problems facing Jeff High and other schools are beyond the capacity of a single individual to fix. Morrow was the sacrificial lamb, a head rolled out for public consumption to create the appearance that "something" was being done. Let's off the principal and maybe the problem will go away.

If only it was that easy.

In addition to changing the principal, JHS will also get 90 (count 'em ninety) surveillance cameras, three more school cops, a new coat of paint and graffiti removed from the campus. A new high school will also open its doors in July to handle 700 students from JHS.

The simple truth is, the fights didn't break out over the lack of fresh paint or overcrowding. The problems go deep into the neighborhoods and beyond. For example, the homicide of Cabrillo HS student DEMETRIUS "BEAR" WILLIAMS in Long Beach back in February had nothing to do with the school environment. Cabrillo is a brand new, $45 million school chock full of programs. It has the highest ratio of computers to students of any major urban school on the West Coast. It's got advanced programs for media, animation and computers, a pre-engineering magnet program, a college prep magnet program, and an academy of finance and information technology. So no one gets left behind, Cabrillo also has a "recovery" program for kids falling behind to help them catch up. Plus there's dance and music, drug and gang counseling, mentoring programs and gang diversion. The Greater Long Beach National Conference for Community and Justice supports an on-campus group called Jaguars United whose purpose is to promote interaction between racial groups. They sponsor events like movie nights, peace rallies and "fishbowl" lunches where students are encouraged to socialize with members of different racial groups. All this was in place way before Williams was killed. If ever there was fertile ground for peace and harmony, Cabrillo should have been it.

Despite all these good intentions, racial tensions persist at Cabrillo. At the end of the school day, black students walk on one side of the street and Latinos on the other. Blacks go to the MacDonald's. Hispanics go to a taco stand. Racial taunts are commonplace. If anything, Williams had taken racial diversity to heart. He fathered an out-of-wedlock child. His girlfriend is a Latina. Instead of bridging the racial divide, his relationship with a Latina, cops say, got some people on both sides bent the wrong way.

Williams also claimed WEST COAST CRIPS, self-admitted on an FI card. The two accused shooters, according to LBPD, are WEST SIDE LONGOS. And there we are back at the neighborhoods.

While JHS hasn't experienced a BEAR incident, it's abundantly clear that video cameras, some new paint and a new principal aren't going to solve its problems. Antonio V., Romer and city leaders should do a little more than change the window dressing.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoa. What exactly can Villaraigosa do? That's a real question, not a rhetorical one. I like visiting your site and respect your insights. In today's posting, you make it sound like instituting great programs isn't enough to prevent violence between Latinos and blacks. So, what would make a difference?

Anonymous said...

You cant stop it its been like that forvever.

hydroso said...

"The problems go deep into the neighborhoods and beyond." Yup, I largely agree Wally...but now how do we proceed? Has this problem ever really been solved to begin with? Perhaps we are just seeing a new manifestation of the same problem that's always been. Perhaps we will only seek to minimize the problem for the mean time. Perhaps the central problem isn't solvable but only manageable. What do you think, Wally?

Anonymous said...

These problems have always been there. For as long as I can remember, minority groups stick to each other in ethnically diverse schools. Blacks with blacks, asians with asians, whites with whites and Latinos with latinos. The media is just making a big deal out of this. I can remember huge fights in high school between the latinos and filipinos all year long but never any media coverage. Not even a newspaper article. Granted no one died or got stabbed but most of these cases in L.A. schools are just brawls but the media loves to accentuate the negative.
Hey, at least they are trying something though right? You say none of these measures will help, but at least they are trying.If you were a parent wouldn't you rathar they try something than do nothing at all? I'm pretty sure if your kids don't went to that school you would give a fuck.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say people don't care just because their kids don't go there. If anything, the original post was saying that whats being done isn't enough. That sounds like someone who does give a fuck.
What I don't get is how so many of these people fighting can be so ignorant. On a different note, but along a similiar vein, I can't understand two soldiers from rival gangs going at it for the benefit of the guards in corcoran when fights were staged. These idiots at Jefferson are doing the same thing on grander scale.

middle-aged white reporter said...

Excellent post, Wally. Jeff Hi principal Morrow is indeed the sacrificial lamb. Yet, it isn't Antonio you should be taking to task. (His quotes, all said at the school board meeting two weeks ago, were pulled out of context by the LA Times reporter.) It’s Romer who made Morrow the fall guy to cover some appalling deficits and bad behavior on the district’s part. There’s a lot more to this story, but you called the heart of it right, and the LA Times has continued to get it wrong.

I do find that the brown/black racial tension in the street is worse than I remember in 15 years. I’m guessing that part of it is being caused by the new level of gang consolidation going on in prison along racial lines. But that can’t be the whole of the matter.

What do you think’s causing it?

Oldtimer said...

Go back to the incident in highland park that Wally mentioned on a another post and you get an idea of what happens in our barrios. It's not an isolated incident there are many more we don't here about and not just between the races that were mentioned. Maybe every incident can't be stopped, but they can be reduced by proper parental supervision of your own kids. And don't bring in single parent or two parent working families have it hard, blah, blah, b***s**t. I've seen many of these same type of households raise great kids. Parents that care will get it done-and not worry about what our country "owes" them(if they got evrything they whine about, they'd s**t it all away anyway). Orale Raza levantate-lead your family!

Anonymous said...

A.V. will find HIS ideas ignored.

I wish that was not the case, but let's take a look at history. in 1958 jefferson had increasing numbers of black students coming up from the "Baby-Boom" so, it seemed ok to use the local white kid for a punching bag after the zoot-suit riots x 10 years previous.

10 years later, WATTS riots. The hyphenated "American" ie: African, Latino, Filipino, etc. and on was ok for awhile. Now that there are no more white student punching bags, the afro-american students now find themselves "Locked" in a battle for survival at Jefferson High.

The "Dichotemy" runs deeper.

When Jefferson experienced reduced white enrollment as the direct result of "White Flight" as did the tax revenues that supported it's programs. Not that the tax revenues decreased, albeit the additional revenues required for "Forced Bus Integration" in the LAUSD, rather the "LAYERS" of red tape, personnel and lack of adequate management began to tell the "Tale"

Soon you had influx of migrant farm workers children, seeking a better way of life seeking the American Dream...no longer was the strict management programs that supported that growth, lest we now see the aftermath of poor planning at the highest levels.

It is NOT uncommon to see LAUSD Officials driving "Escalades" attending LAUSD Union Meetings, and then SLASHING school budgets, and crying to the state level governments that they have no money for supplies. This conspiracy has been present in the LAUSD for decades. As migrant children seek the education the parents so desire, gone is the strict implementation of procedural organization to correct the lack of 40 years of mis-management of funds to promote social generated growth. Racial tensions will continue, as long as the growth continues and the current LAUSD management is oblivious to the obvious conditions that exist at Jefferson High.

One THING is certain.

Gone, long gone are the revenues generated by influential white families that remained in the area to manage the infrastructure that maintained the school for so many years. Gone, is the dicipline that saw many students graduate with honors, and go off to college with the necessary skills required to achieve success.

Gone, is the "Racial Harmony" between Black & Latino students, that fed off of uniting against the predominant white societal aims of education. Once united, these idealogical differences have proved decisive. And NOT in a good way.

Just look at the quality of education these students are receiving, and then look at the "Drop-Out" rates, and then explain to me otherwise.

Be careful of what you wish for.

It JUST might come true.

Anonymous said...

A.V. will find HIS ideas ignored.

I wish that was not the case, but let's take a look at history. in 1958 jefferson had increasing numbers of black students coming up from the "Baby-Boom" so, it seemed ok to use the local white kid for a punching bag after the zoot-suit riots x 10 years previous.

10 years later, WATTS riots. The hyphenated "American" ie: African, Latino, Filipino, etc. and on was ok for awhile. Now that there are no more white student punching bags, the afro-american students now find themselves "Locked" in a battle for survival at Jefferson High.

The "Dichotemy" runs deeper.

When Jefferson experienced reduced white enrollment as the direct result of "White Flight" as did the tax revenues that supported it's programs. Not that the tax revenues decreased, albeit the additional revenues required for "Forced Bus Integration" in the LAUSD, rather the "LAYERS" of red tape, personnel and lack of adequate management began to tell the "Tale"

Soon you had influx of migrant farm workers children, seeking a better way of life seeking the American Dream...no longer was the strict management programs that supported that growth, lest we now see the aftermath of poor planning at the highest levels.

It is NOT uncommon to see LAUSD Officials driving "Escalades" attending LAUSD Union Meetings, and then SLASHING school budgets, and crying to the state level governments that they have no money for supplies. This conspiracy has been present in the LAUSD for decades. As migrant children seek the education the parents so desire, gone is the strict implementation of procedural organization to correct the lack of 40 years of mis-management of funds to promote social generated growth. Racial tensions will continue, as long as the growth continues and the current LAUSD management is oblivious to the obvious conditions that exist at Jefferson High.

One THING is certain.

Gone, long gone are the revenues generated by influential white families that remained in the area to manage the infrastructure that maintained the school for so many years. Gone, is the dicipline that saw many students graduate with honors, and go off to college with the necessary skills required to achieve success.

Gone, is the "Racial Harmony" between Black & Latino students, that fed off of uniting against the predominant white societal aims of education. Once united, these idealogical differences have proved decisive. And NOT in a good way.

Just look at the quality of education these students are receiving, and then look at the "Drop-Out" rates, and then explain to me otherwise.

Be careful of what you wish for.

It JUST might come true.

Anonymous said...

A.V. will find HIS ideas ignored.

I wish that was not the case, but let's take a look at history. in 1958 jefferson had increasing numbers of black students coming up from the "Baby-Boom" so, it seemed ok to use the local white kid for a punching bag after the zoot-suit riots x 10 years previous.

10 years later, WATTS riots. The hyphenated "American" ie: African, Latino, Filipino, etc. and on was ok for awhile. Now that there are no more white student punching bags, the afro-american students now find themselves "Locked" in a battle for survival at Jefferson High.

The "Dichotemy" runs deeper.

When Jefferson experienced reduced white enrollment as the direct result of "White Flight" as did the tax revenues that supported it's programs. Not that the tax revenues decreased, albeit the additional revenues required for "Forced Bus Integration" in the LAUSD, rather the "LAYERS" of red tape, personnel and lack of adequate management began to tell the "Tale"

Soon you had influx of migrant farm workers children, seeking a better way of life seeking the American Dream...no longer was the strict management programs that supported that growth, lest we now see the aftermath of poor planning at the highest levels.

It is NOT uncommon to see LAUSD Officials driving "Escalades" attending LAUSD Union Meetings, and then SLASHING school budgets, and crying to the state level governments that they have no money for supplies. This conspiracy has been present in the LAUSD for decades. As migrant children seek the education the parents so desire, gone is the strict implementation of procedural organization to correct the lack of 40 years of mis-management of funds to promote social generated growth. Racial tensions will continue, as long as the growth continues and the current LAUSD management is oblivious to the obvious conditions that exist at Jefferson High.

One THING is certain.

Gone, long gone are the revenues generated by influential white families that remained in the area to manage the infrastructure that maintained the school for so many years. Gone, is the dicipline that saw many students graduate with honors, and go off to college with the necessary skills required to achieve success.

Gone, is the "Racial Harmony" between Black & Latino students, that fed off of uniting against the predominant white societal aims of education. Once united, these idealogical differences have proved decisive. And NOT in a good way.

Just look at the quality of education these students are receiving, and then look at the "Drop-Out" rates, and then explain to me otherwise.

Be careful of what you wish for.

It JUST might come true.

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