Gun incident at Grady High highlights socio-economic divide. Can students overcome differences?

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, Southerner)

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady on Feb. 27. (Joe Lavine, The Southerner)

One of the strongest images to emerge from the accidental shooting 10 days ago at Grady High School was a photo taken by a student photographer who was in-between classes when a classmate accidentally shot herself in the leg in a school courtyard. Grady senior Joe Lavine is on the staff of  high school’s nationally acclaimed student newspaper, The Southerner.

Lavine has written a guest column about the shooting. (Lavine is interviewing today for a college scholarship. Good luck to him.)

By Joe Lavine

Yes, I took the picture of  the gun a Grady High classmate accidentally discharged  last week in the school courtyard. Yes, I threaded my way through the monkey grass and snapped a photo of that abominable, life-ruining object seconds after the student accidentally shot herself in the leg and rushed off to the school clinic, leaving the gun in the grass.

And, yes, the photo and my story got a lot of attention.

But now is the time to forget the photo and focus instead on the transformation that this whole unfortunate incident could inspire — if we are willing to be inspired.

First of all, I believe that Grady is an amazing school. Its ability to provide valuable real-world experiences, balanced with the opportunity for a great education and involvement in countless prestigious extracurricular activities and sports, is unrivaled by most public and private schools.

Over the past month, however, an appalling truth about Grady has become more evident to me. The interaction between black and white students is being suffocated by two conditions: fear and a lack of understanding. In general, we are afraid to venture out of our comfort zones, preferring to remain within the sheltered circle of our own race.

Black eighth grade students coming to Grady check the box for one of three Small Learning Communities, which dictate their classes all four years at Grady. For the most part, they choose Biomedical Science and Engineering, Business and Entrepreneurship, or Law and Leadership, while most white eighth grade students check the box for Communications and Journalism.

In addition to classes, the lunch hour is divided. For the most part, black students sit in the cafeteria to eat lunch and white students sit in the upper courtyard. Because of this, we learn and grow separately, limiting our perspectives and tunneling our vision of the world.

Interracial relations at Grady are also governed by a string of misunderstandings. I became more aware of this in the aftermath of The Southerner’s first issue of 2013. Our lead story concerned former Grady student Antonio Johnson, who was arrested on Dec. 24 and charged with murder

Isabelle Taft, our editor-in-chief who wrote the story on Johnson, spent countless hours uncovering the facts in order to shed light on Johnson’s life and allow others to better understand how he ended up making the mistakes that he did; she did not, nor was attempting to, villainize him. But several black students responded with disgust to our coverage, angered in thinking that The Southerner was out to get Johnson. This is in no way true. We were simply reporting the facts.

Looking back, however, we misunderstood the sensitivity of our black peers to the issue and probably should not have printed six pictures of Johnson, including four mug shots.

One of the reasons that students misinterpreted our motives is that the vast majority of The Southerner staff is white. As a result,  black students think that, in regards to the grim lifestyle that Johnson and many other Grady students have gone through, we are astonishingly and shamefully blind. And they are absolutely right.

This instance illustrates the lack of understanding that fuels the racial divide at Grady. To be clear, this divide is not caused by racial discrimination; it is caused by a drastic socio-economic disparity in lifestyle. While many Grady students live in communities dominated by soccer moms, PTA presidents, and book clubs, many others are submerged in neighborhoods of gang activity and crime.

While many students struggle to find where their weekly housecleaning service moved the waffle maker, many others struggle to walk down the street safely. The difference manifested itself in the aftermath of the gun incident. Some students were frightened and shaken learning that a shot had been fired, even by accident. Some were just going about a normal day.

One thing is clear. We are extremely different. But do our differences have to divide us? Are we not all just humans on this earth, questing for happiness and for love? And aren’t we all so desperately tired and frustrated with the difficulties of this quest?

So, let’s ask ourselves, do we have to continue hopelessly trekking through the cavernous trenches of misunderstanding, judging, fear and hate? Or can we come together, knocking down those pesky, stubborn walls in our mind that divide us, and change our lives and the lives of the people around us?

Can we make a difference? Can we show the world that we can come together, despite the odds, despite our differences?

Can we join arms and love each other as brothers and sisters?

We shall see. Come to me if you want to help. I have a few ideas.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

47 comments Add your comment

Jovan Miles

March 8th, 2013
11:05 am

Well written. I’m glad this came from a student and that the kids at Grady High are taking steps to confront the intersection of race and class and how those two variables continue to frame our beliefs about one another.

I wonder what, if anything, the adult members of the school community can do to help facilitate greater interaction between Black and White students.

I also hope that the impact/import of historical structures (systemic racism, an emphasis on equity vs. equality, etc) is taken into consideration when adults finally do choose to weigh in on the conversation.

Again, well written.

MiltonMan

March 8th, 2013
11:11 am

Here you go Mr. Dunn – a city that has strict gun laws. Is this what you want out of Atlanta???

http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/07/17225824-americas-invincible-city-brought-to-its-knees-by-poverty-violence?lite

Rick L in ATL

March 8th, 2013
11:12 am

What you should have learned from this, Joe–and what you would have learned if traditional newspaper journalism was still alive and in use–is that your obligation is to be fair, not to be sensitive. You’ve been taught a lesson in political correctness by fellow students who don’t want you to say up is up and down is down because they find it offensive. But when you take it upon yourself to be sensitive, you veer off the path of telling people what you know and instead are telling people what you think.
That may be standard practice in “journalism” today–Anderson Cooper, for example, can’t get through a single sentence on air without using the first-person pronouns “I,” “me” and — his favorite, the royal “we”–a dozen times, and AJC news stories are peppered with opinions, spin and inflections (not to mention spelling and grammatical errors) that never would have been tolerated by the paper’s editors 20 years ago. But that is not the kind of journalism you want to learn, or practice.

You want to follow your earlier instinct–the correct instinct–and play it straight down the middle, because–take it from me, a guy who spent 20 years in the field– you want to be able to feel good about what you did when you finally hang up your spikes and run off to do something else. Do you really think the talking airheads at Fox News, MSNBC and (more than a few) at my alma mater, CNN, feel good about what they are doing? Trust me–they don’t. They’ve traded whatever values they once had for a cynical agenda of self-advancement at the cost of their integrity. (With the tacit approval of their bosses, I might add). But they’ll leave the field with nothing to show for it but the money they took, and they will be instantly forgotten.

It’s nice that you want to sit together and play nice with the other students–this isn’t about that. This is about your second-guessing your coverage of an alleged murderer.

Don’t.

MiltonMan

March 8th, 2013
11:22 am

“Over the past month, however, an appalling truth about Grady has become more evident to me. The interaction between black and white students is being suffocated by two conditions: fear and a lack of understanding. In general, we are afraid to venture out of our comfort zones, preferring to remain within the sheltered circle of our own race.”

Grady is majority black. Why are the blacks not reaching out to the whites (and others) and therefore be inclusive??? If this was going on in a majority white school, we would be hearing from the likes of Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, Al Sharpton, “Rev.” Joe Lowery, etc.

Centrist

March 8th, 2013
11:22 am

We are stuck with this until the wide black culture that does not value education, wedlock before children, individual responsibility instead of government care-taking, and victim-hood is broken. Black leaders who espouse such changes are shunted aside and called “Uncle Toms”.

America’s society has assimilated other races, ethnic, and cultures. The past waves of Italian, Irish, and Asians are examples. There was initial poverty, gangs, discrimination – some still leftover. But mostly these ethnic and racial cultures have much better assimilated and adopted the more basic values of the American community as a whole.

USC-69

March 8th, 2013
11:28 am

A very nice story. The writer, Joe Lavine, appears to understand the growing disparity in incomes and the adverse effects this disparity has on both the rich and the poor. Can this be rectified at the High School level? Probably not. My own High School of 3,000 students – years ago – had very similar racial and economic divides – although the extreme wealth of 2013 was not then known. Tracking was then the norm and I rarely saw minority races in my academic classes. The time when I learned to interact, know, and admire all the students were in such classes as Band, Marching Band, Dance Band, and Physical Education. Some of these activities have been discontinued or discouraged in some schools today because of the desire to block taxation of the rich to support public education. The wealthy are now reaping the rewards of their selfishness as they sequester themselves in gated communities, armed with their assault rifles, waiting for the sounds of the home invasion. The adults must step forward and begin to dismantle the corporate structures that have allowed a few, and their offspring, to stuff their pockets to overflowing, while denying adequate housing, food, healthcare, and education to the majority. Hang in there Grady High.

bootney farnsworth

March 8th, 2013
11:31 am

@ maureen and the moderation staff

reality check. Al Jazzera (however its spelled) has bought a US cable network. its a presence in our lives and will continue to be. this is a fact.

deal with it.

A Conservative Voice

March 8th, 2013
11:40 am

OK, I’ll say it one more time…..”Forced Integration has never worked, is not working now and will never work in the future”. I’m not saying that integration is wrong, it is absolutely the right thing, but I’m saying it should be left to succeed on it’s own. Government forcing us to do something just because it’s what the government thinks is the right thing is wrong, i. e., ACA. This whole article is over a gun, a stolen gun used by a student to shoot herself. It, along with a lot of other examples is pushing our government to enact stricter gun laws. Folks, if we don’t stop it, it’s not gonna end well.

Maureen Downey

March 8th, 2013
11:43 am

@To all, No personal attacks. Your stuff won’t appear. Also, I have been trained on the new blogging platform and will be shifting to it next week, which means this site will be ending. There will be a new URL and new requirements for registration. This new platform has its challenges but its benefit is that it works on the mobile AJC apps, which are increasingly how many readers reach this blog.
Maureen

Sk8ing Momma

March 8th, 2013
11:43 am

How refreshing to read such a thoughtful piece from a high school journalist! Kudos!

I am in my early 40s and I could relate to this article whole-heartedly. The racial climate at my law school in the early 1990s was much like what was described at Grady — black and white did not mix much outside of the perfunctory chit chat between classes. There was no particular reason or incident that relegated each to its respective “corner” of the campus, despite our close quarters. IMO, people simply chose to associate and socialize with those most like themselves.

Interestingly, the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) decided to reach out to the student body at large. It decided to host one of the school’s regular social activities. Prior to BLSA offering to host, the activity consisted of hanging out at a local bar, drinking beer and talking. That was not at all appealing to the black students; hence, BLSA offered to host an activity that was more palatable to its members. Hence, the social activity with music, food and dancing was introduced. Black and white students attended. A good time was had by all. It was huge it!

The point is not that the BLSA threw a better social. The point was that people are different and like to socialize differently. Recognition of difference if a good thing and goes a long way in terms of fostering interaction.

Perhaps recognizing differences at Grady is the first step to fostering interaction between the white and black students. Who knows what may come of it? I suspect that students inspired and committed to doing something about the lack of interaction will be creative enough to come up with activities/events to bridge the cultural divide.

Old timer

March 8th, 2013
11:43 am

It is a culture divide…

10:10 am

March 8th, 2013
11:53 am

Mr. Lavine continues this blog’s tradition of presenting liberal excuses for those making poor personal choices.

Was it “White racism” that forced the girl to have a prior criminal record? Did “Whitey” also get her to obtain, and smuggle onto school grounds, a firearm with its registration numbers filed off?

And if she had succeeded in shooting someone other than herself …

Centrist

March 8th, 2013
11:57 am

As with the other AJC blogs that will no longer allow anonymity, I will leave this one next week. I simply don’t trust the AJC not to personally target posters who disagree with their liberal line.

I’m not paranoid – “targeting” simply means I do not trust them with my personal information. Only friends have access to my Facebook, email, physical address, phone number, bio, etc.

Pride and Joy

March 8th, 2013
12:36 pm

Poppycock. The writer makes an outrageous claim that white people are concerned where “the help” put the waffle iron. That’s just wrong. I’m white. I grew up poor. I live like I am poor. No help at my house and the only waffles we eat are out of the frozen box in my freezer.
What DOES differentiate me from the black families from Grady is that we don’t value guns and violence. We value education. You won’t find any pink stolen pistols at my house, my relatives’ homes nor my friends’ homes. We don’t roll that way.
I understand the writer’s naive thoughts. I had them too when I was his age but the older you get and the more life experiences we have, the more we know that VALUES NOT INCOME determine our future and our socioeconomic status.
AFFLUENCE does not produce educated children. I am sick and tired of that myth being spread all over that rich and white makes people educated. White generally makes one educated because white people are far more likley to value education and pass on that value to their kids. Those who CHOOSE to become educated will more than likely be more affluent than those who disdain education because as a society we Americans pay more for educated skills over non-educated skills. We value engineers more than we value fast food employees.
The more we LEARN the MORE WE EARN.
It’s not money. It’s education.
In today’s Amreican society, education is available and to everyone regardless of one’s abiliyt to pay.
The black culture values music, sports and violence. The white culture values education and sports.
Where we spend our time illustrates what we value.
The author of this piece is misguided, albeit honest in his young mind.
No one FORCES white people to join the communication track at Grady anymore than anyone forces blacks to join the medical track. If blacks want to join the newspaper they can — they don’t want to — they value football and an easy to get medical assistant certificate.
Journalism is tough AND the pay is low.
The student journalist needs to make no apologies for his race nor does the Southerner need to make apologies for their journalism. MUG SHOTS ARE RELEVANT!
If the owner, Johnson, of the mug shot doesn’t want the mug shot in the paper — then don’t do the crime.
I refuse to buy that same old race cardroutine that blac k Atlanta continues to want to play.
If you want money and respectability — make educatiohn a priority. Get out of the dam& nail salon and hair salon and spend that time reading to your kids. Men, get your azz off the football field and read to your kids.
spend your money on pencils instead of fancy rims for your Cadillac Escalade and stop buying pink hand guns — or at least don’t steal them.
Tuft and her ilk need to be permanently banned from Grady. I shudder when I hear this misguided author say “we are afraid to venture out of our comfort zones, preferring to remain within the sheltered circle of our own race. ” — Your dam& right — get the heck away from thte other race so you don’t get shot! You have a right to be scared and should be scared. Those idiots in your school have guns!

SPARKY

March 8th, 2013
12:38 pm

“But do our differences have to divide us?”

By the time you reach high school? Yes. It’s far too late for the poor kids (black or white) to catch up to the well-off (black or white) kids.

Now you will go off to your separate world at a respected college and they will remain in their world.

Chamblee Dad

March 8th, 2013
12:49 pm

@centrist What do you think they will do,Google map your house & post the picture on the front page?

Yankee Prof

March 8th, 2013
1:18 pm

Thank you for sharing this thoughtful piece, Mr. Lavine. Good luck in wherever your educational journey takes you.

Ivan

March 8th, 2013
1:30 pm

“Are we not all questing for happiness and for love?”

Is that why the girl had a gun? She was on a quest to get happy and/or love.

Some people are not on the same quest.

agent

March 8th, 2013
1:55 pm

So I’m still trying to figure out what that piece had to do with that idiot that brought a gun on school grounds. Oh wait, I got it, a white person must have made her do it.

bootney farnsworth

March 8th, 2013
2:16 pm

@ maureen

to say, based on reading his submission, Mr. Lavine has little clue about the proper role of journalists and journalism is NOT an attack, but a statement of FACT.

journalism is about objective reporting of the facts, and only the facts. journalism 101.
his is a well written ADVOCACY piece.

if he wishes to play in an ADVOCACY roll, then he is opening himself to having his position examined, and it a case like this where it is so removed from reality, his motives as well.
welcome to real life.

that the AJC often can’t figure this out does not alter it.

bootney farnsworth

March 8th, 2013
2:22 pm

” we misunderstood the sensitivity of our black peers to the issue and probably should not have printed six pictures of Johnson, including four mug shots.”

his own words. his.

this is not journalism. if he did this in the real world, unless working for a strongly left of center paper, he would and should be given his walking papers.

facts are facts. if it makes a group of people uncomfortable, tough. to say they should have held back on some pics because they might have been offensive is and should be grounds for termination.

ClydeFr0g

March 8th, 2013
2:53 pm

“that abominable, life-ruining object seconds after the student accidentally shot herself in the leg”

That object doesn’t ruin anyone’s life. It’s the person wielding it that can use it to either commit evil or defend against evil, or just have some fun at the range. At least your opening showed your complete lack of objectivity, so you should fit right in with today’s “journalists”.

Besides that, the author seems to think there are two types of people in this country: wealthy whites and poor blacks. I was a white kid at an overwhelmingly-majority black school in New Orleans and neither myself nor any other white kids I knew were wealthy. We didn’t wonder where the help hid our waffle iron and more than many of the black kids. Incidentally, many of the black kids came from FAR wealthier families, and I know there are many wealthy black families here in the Atlanta area as well.

I believe the author is white, and comes off as a white-apologist. Here’s an idea: try not being racist, not pushing any agenda…you know, *journalism*. Of course that won’t get you published on the AJC, but at least you’ll maintain your credibility.

ClydeFr0g

March 8th, 2013
2:59 pm

Anyway, we all know this didn’t happen. It couldn’t have happened, because guns aren’t allowed on school campuses. And this woman couldn’t have owned a gun anyway because she was too young and had a criminal record. And the serial numbers couldn’t have been filed off because that is also illegal.

It’s a good thing we have all these laws making sure criminals don’t bring guns onto schools.

Principal

March 8th, 2013
3:04 pm

APS is an URBAN school system which means there are many complicated situations, family issues and sociological factors that come with educating urban students no matter if they are living in the East, South, North, or West regions of the city. Urban doesn’t just mean Black–it means complications which require nontraditional problem solving. All students (public, private, charter) bring their positive experiences as well as their personal and family baggage with them every day. Teachers and administrators have to work within that context every minute. I find that students who come family situations with more wealth are able to compartmentalize their experiences and baggage a bit better so that it doesn’t play itself out in such a visible and obvious way in the daily school setting while students from lesser affluent communities show more of it on a daily basis. Internal self control and self regulation develop at different times for different students. If you chose to send your students to a school in an urban school system, your children are going to be exposed to things that might not take place in more suburban systems. Principals and teachers can’t change that. It is how parents and other adults help students make sense of what they are experiencing that makes a difference.

catlady

March 8th, 2013
4:50 pm

Principal, I will see your urban school problems and double-down with my Appalachian-whites school problems.

Lee

March 8th, 2013
6:31 pm

Wow. So much politically correct bull crap, so little time…..

But Maureen wants us to play nice with the young lad, so I will just say: Come see us in twenty years. It will be interesting to see how your idealism turns to pragmitism after you’re passed over for college admissions, jobs, and promotions because someone want to increase their “diversity”, whatever the hell that is….

My idealism quickly went away after I started paying the bills….

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

March 8th, 2013
7:28 pm

@Pride and Joy The writer makes an outrageous claim that white people are concerned where “the help” put the waffle iron.

Totally agree. That was an uncalled for stereotype… I myself have never owned a waffle iron, nor had the *help* to move it anywhere if I did own one. A toaster and a box of frozen Eggos is living large at our house.

Sadly, you rather undermined your entire point by following it up with a series of negative stereotypes of your own.

I would posit that whether this young author is *naive* or not at least he recognizes that there *is* a problem and a disconnect among cultures. One cannot bridge such a gulf in understanding without first acknowledging that it exists, and seeking solutions. Blaming one side or the other will do nothing to foster understanding or respect, and will only lead to further fractioning of our society.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
9:53 pm

Interesting thread. USC-69 is the winner.

Another comment, You ought to invite the lady in for tea. One time. It would be the neighborly thing to do. Sorry about your car and the car door, etc. That’s a drag, I have had it happen to me. You do not come across real strong with “if you walked a mile in my shoes” empathy. One might ask, “Where’s the love?”

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
9:57 pm

Agree that the featured writer seems to be doing “white is wealthy” and not even realise it. The most painful situation I have seen in with a white student. Many of the black students have extended families and much belonging. This kid has a drug-addict mother with green hair and metal Bam-Bam jewelry implanted in her skin and was making him take psychotropic drugs and trying to use him as an object to get a government check. I can truthfully say I was probably the one teacher who really cared and looked out for him. Kid was in a bad way, every day. He used to come to class and say “my head hurts” from the synthetic pills they were making him take, and put his head down on the desk. He seemed quite sane to me, even well adjusted, considering his circumstances. He was never anything but a prince toward me. Rich white kids, huh? This young feature writer needs to go on a sojourn and see a little of the world.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
10:02 pm

Joe Lavine, If you want to make a huge cognitive leap, look up some books by Frantz Fanon. These address the topic you are writing about.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
10:34 pm

Lee, Or if the young man goes to good experience in college and then in graduate school is pigeon-holed for “white privilege” by the person making approval decisions on his work. Meanwhile, the non-white students, say from China? get the nurture and belonging from the same person giving him the caustic treatment. Got to thin the herd, you know. Too much white power. Male? Oh Lord, you’re done for. Better be careful going to a university big on identity politics, unless you want to become collateral damage in the battle of identity politics. The alternative is to sing the required song, play dumb, write something they tell you to write. You know, like 300 pages of it. For them. Not for you. Don’t forget, you’re paying their salary, too, usually assuming long-term debt to do it.

Pro-Tip: Research the published dissertations from a program before you assume it is a good fit for you. Pro-Tip #2: Just because they advertise it on their department webpage does not mean they teach it. For example, in Georgia, a “degree in… (specialty area)” might means having one professor who has not works on the topic published in English and sends you on a snipe hunt. Research the published works and dissertations from the department. You’ll soon know.

Did I ever tell you about my friend who went to Georgia State and for Freshman Composition (not his strength), he had aa Asian instructor who could not speak English? True story. He transferred out. -Nothing meant against the Chinese. One of my best professor-pals was Chinese, but he was literate in English. He’s since left the state.

Private Citizen

March 8th, 2013
10:40 pm

noguns

March 9th, 2013
7:59 am

the government needs to ban all handguns to stop these shootings. I’m tired of weak gun laws.

Lee

March 9th, 2013
9:11 am

“the government needs to ban all handguns to stop these shootings. I’m tired of weak gun laws.”

Tell me, how’s that “war on drugs” working out for ya? The drug cartels and the police/prison industrial complex are making a mint off of it.

Ed Johnson

March 9th, 2013
3:09 pm

“Urban doesn’t just mean Black–it means complications which require nontraditional problem solving.”
–Principal, at 3:04 pm

Perhaps “urban” does not mean “Black,” exclusively, but when it comes to APS one may rationally argue “urban” means principally or predominately or mostly or we-won-the-Civil-Rights-Movement-so-it’s-our-turn-now “Black.”

For example, go visit the Atlanta school board’s Benjamin E. Mays Conference Room and one will see displayed there images of only “Black” people, adults, including of course President Obama. I do not recall the school board having ever displayed in their Mays Conference Room any image of any US President prior to Obama.

What’s revealing is the fact that two of the seven or so “Black” adults the APS school board has on display in their Mays Conference Room actively participated in the “Atlanta business and civic community” unsuccessful efforts to greatly cover up the now infamous APS CRCT cheating scandal.

Apparently the educational violence the two “Black” adults were willing to commit against mostly “Black” children – excuse me, “urban” children – does not matter to the Atlanta school board.

And neither does it seem the educational violence President Obama continues to wage against public education and democratic ideals via his “Race to the Top Competition” matters to the Atlanta school board.

All of this simply evidences the elephant in the room: There is infesting APS a “Black” racialist ideology that aims to inculcate within “Black” children to value, esteem, aspire to, and be inspired by mostly, if not only, “Black” people they deem worthy of such adulation.

It is a “Black” self-injected infestation, and it is a lose-win proposition. “Black” will lose and, having learned nothing, attribute the loss to “racism.” “White” will win then instigate yet another segregation kind of win-lose proposition. Some consequences have already been written on the wall, locally, but that big, dang elephant in the room is blocking too many people’s view of the wall.

So, in the meantime, continuing and holding to a racialist ideology will matter above all else for many “Black” adults. For example, that’s what drives Atlanta school board member Byron Amos, as he has said in public in a different way than said here, to get the school board to rename a certain APS school that sits in the heart of a certain “Black” community from its longstanding “race”-neutral name to “Joseph E. Lowery Elementary School.”

Ed Johnson

March 9th, 2013
3:19 pm

“APS is an URBAN school system which means there are many complicated situations, family issues and sociological factors that come with educating urban students[.]”
–Principal, at 3:04 pm

“Principal, I will see your urban school problems and double-down with my Appalachian-whites school problems.”
–catlady, at 4:50 pm

Catlady’s wonderful comeback to Principal nicely underscores why the vision the APS strategic plan holds out for the district amounts to being an artificial, self-circumscribed limitation and a lose-win proposition that perhaps could only arise from a “Black” racialist ideology:

“The vision of Atlanta Public Schools is to be a student-centered, high-performing urban school district where all students become successful life-long learners and leaders.” (APS Strategic Plan 2012-2017)

Private Citizen

March 9th, 2013
5:10 pm

Atlanta school board’s Benjamin E. Mays Conference Room and one will see displayed there images of only “Black” people

That’s creepy.

Private Citizen

March 9th, 2013
5:14 pm

Kind of a message: White people, go build your life somewhere else. And to the world communities, you don’t exist to us. Of course, as counterpoint, no doubt there is many a white Mecca in the United States, but putting up the Wall of Shame, or Hall Fame, as was said in the Spike Lee movie, might be appropriate in a private business, but in government it means that a group has appropriated the tax base and is “working it.” This might ring true in Memphis, but with the business and commerce history of Atlanta, it does not seem appropriate to… ugh… flaunt a takeover with such aplomb.

Private Citizen

March 9th, 2013
5:19 pm

(wink) Let’s just go ahead and make APS management 100% black, like a fraternity / sororiety. But then, who would Errol man-handle? Got to have some marks to fuel the fires of “payback.”

Grady district parent

March 10th, 2013
9:59 pm

Of course there exist blacks and whites (and others) at all income levels. But the attendance zone of Grady High School happens to straddle a very stark socioeconomic line in the heart of the City of Atlanta that has comfortable, mostly white neighborhoods on one side of the line and struggling, mostly black neighborhoods on the other. It’s just a fluke of history and districting.

Linesouth

March 11th, 2013
7:07 am

My son graduated Grady in 2010. He went to all the Grady dances & was one of a handful of white kids who attended. It was the same at Inman. Just saying….

Grady parent

March 11th, 2013
8:01 am

I realize i’m late to this little self-congratulating hate fest, but maybe the reason Joe Levine wrote about self-segregating rich whites looking for the waffle iron is because that’s what *is* going on at Grady HS… ?

Many parents from adjoining Virginia Highlands and Morningside aggressively push their students to enroll in the near-all-white “safe” academy, won’t even allow them to branch out into an academy that is maybe 50-50 for fear of a black planet… They have orchestrated a socio-economic balkanization that has gone quite a ways to re-segregated the student body. There are many parents who oppose this, students too, and students are starting to realize the error of their parents’ ways. There used to be a goodly amount of racial mixing, if not socio-economic mixing, and there are kids on both sides who are continuing to press for the good fight.

Oh, and i remember reading a piece a couple of months ago laying out the case that the ONLY educational mandate that has really had a meaningful impact on improving the socioeconomic status of blacks in this country was true desegretation.
Probably why the lily whites of north Fulton really don’t like it. Every time i drive around up there i realize how isolated and unengaged with the rest of the world life really is up there. You live in your car, go from strip mall to strip mall, and never visit with anyone on the sidewalk.
The accusation that the intown rich are liberals is an echo-chamber right wing fantasy and farce, perpetuated by financial jelousy – too poor to move in those circles to figure out they vote republican just like you, just without the strict orthodox social conservative mandate.

Another Grady parent

March 11th, 2013
8:08 am

This kid was not stereotyping when he wrote the above words; it’s true for Grady High School. It’s not true everywhere, but it is for that particular school. There are some kids of both races in the middle, but the vast majority of the students reflect the great disparity in the city. It’s like this at Inman Middle, which feeds into Grady, as well. My kids, who live in a $700K house with 2 married parents, are typical white kids in these schools. My kids work hard at school, often working on projects on the weekends and late at night. They tell me the “ghetto” kids simply don’t do the homework projects (”Ghetto” is the kids’ word, not mine). That’s right! They don’t do them at all. And some of those “ghetto” kids don’t eat if they don’t get fed at school – hence, their sitting in the cafeteria. The white kids eat outside, as our young writer noticed, because they’ve brought their lunches from home. Why stand in line for half the lunch break to get crappy cafeteria food when a kid can sit outside in the sunshine and eat a whole wheat, nitrite-free sandwich from mom? In a nutshell, these stereotypes are fact at Grady High School, but there’s not much we can do to change them until the disadvantaged kids learn a better value system. But how can they learn a better way? I don’t know.

Jhunterbob

March 11th, 2013
9:03 am

Lee

A man who’s views of the world at 50 are the same as his views at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life

Mohammed Ali…

not pride and joy

March 12th, 2013
10:45 am

I believe Pride and Joy may be David Duke in real life. The stereotypes you posted about Blacks is appalling. I will not respond in like about White stereotypes, because it does not serve a purpose. Having read many of your other posts, you need a psychiatrist.

Grady Senior

March 12th, 2013
9:07 pm

Just wanted to say this is a great article that explains Grady’s problems and its potential really well.

I hope that this incident not only contributes to a national discussion about gun control, but also brings people together like Joe suggests.

Jenny

Just a thought

March 13th, 2013
12:12 am

I generally agree with what “Another Grady Parent Said” but I do find concern with this sentence:

“In a nutshell, these stereotypes are fact at Grady High School, but there’s not much we can do to change them until the disadvantaged kids learn a better value system. But how can they learn a better way? I don’t know.”

I just want to point out that the social disparities between black and white children at Grady exist, not because low SES black students don’t have “values.” In fact, they know the value of education. The reality is, however, that they are not provided the same level of education as a lot of white students at Grady. The problem is not that they don’t value learning or taking steps to achieve a better future, the problem is that they encounter daily obstacles that prevent them from having the same fruitful experiences and learning opportunities as many of their classmates.