Monday, September 14, 2009

I Love The Smell of Rumble In The Morning

An interesting combo of emails hit the inbox this morning:

Reader 1: "Sounds like a rumble at Lakeside and Sheridan at 8:15 a.m. Started with baseball bats; they then moved to Lawrence Westbound, and the police are now chasing them around Clarendon and Sunnyside and also on Agatite."

Reader 2: "Just wanted to ask if you could remind your readers to continue to send any gang footage in the neighborhood to Kristyn Hartman, CBS 2 News. She'll continue to cover Uptown."


  1. 8:15 must have been round 2. Or, in any event, not round 1. I saw this activity at about 7:45-7:50. Hear a lot of cars honking their horns, which seemed out of the ordinary. Then I came around the corner and saw why -- kids running/standing in the street flashing their typical I'm-a-tough-guy gang signs. I found myself slightly disappointed that a couple of the cars didn't run over a few of these societal parasites as I've lost hope for any kid over the age of 11 changing his ways.

  2. Wow. Seems kinda early for gangbangers. They usually slep in because none of them have jobs.

  3. They go to Uplift (as I noticed their ID badges hanging around their necks and backpacks). I wonder if they bring their milk crates and bats with them to school.

  4. First day of school today, right? Maybe they were displaying their knowledge of the three R's: Running, Rumbling and Representin'

    Seriously, though, 8:15 in the f*cking morning? I had to call a kid a lost cause, but if you have nothing better to do on the first day of school tham start fighing in the street, well...

  5. Wow people taking the Bears loss kind of hard? Its a long season folks, no need to riot.

  6. Chip,

    We're talking about four interceptions. If thats not cause for a rumble, I don't know what is. Clearly this was a fight between Cutler backers and Cutler haters. Those types of arguments can only be solved with fists, bats and bottles.

    But no guns or knives and nobody died, so according to Helen, this is just part of life in the city and should all get used to it.

  7. I live on Clarendon and Montrose and am up high and I did see some CPD looking around those streets. I seen a few punks run into Clarendon park behind the field house and thats about all I could see. Nothing better then batter up specially when its a gangbangers head being used as a baseball....

  8. Yikes, I was at Sunnyside and Clarendon this morning around that time and must have just missed it because i didn't see or hear anything.

  9. Petula Clark fans: sing with me:
    When you're a res, and life makes you feel safe, you sadly go to Uptown!
    When you've got fears and the noise is making you weary, you can always Uptown!

    Next phrase: it's about Helen making us weary, but I'm weary and need someone else to pick up the tune...

    Seriously, this is a song we don't want to be singing anymore. Let's all do what we can.

  10. At around 7:45am there were approximately 6-8 teenage kids walking with backpacks West on Lawrence then one told the others "Let's go; I want to see someone get their heads bashed in". Most of them started running east towards Sheridan while one of the teenage tragglers said "Damn, wait I'm too intoxicated to run; slow down". That's when I started hearing sirens and seeing police cars head in that direction. Guess the kids are ready for a new school year!

  11. Let's not degenerate this blog into silliness.

    Lots of gun fire
    last night. It started about 12:30 and lasted off and on until about 3:30.

  12. did the police come or anything? is Uplift aware?!

  13. About 7:35 am, I was walking at Kenmore and Lawrence. About 6 young guys were running east on Lawrence. It looked like trouble, but they were dressed better than the bangers in our now famous videos. I didn't want to jump to conclusions...but this sorta confirms my suspicions...

  14. I did call Uplift today at about 7:30, as the daily morning gang activity started last week when school began and every day since. The clerk who answered put me on hold forever and then transferred me to the voicemail of the Dean of Students, but I haven't receive a return call as of yet.

  15. Was Uplift - or ANY Chicago school - in session today? I know that frequently there are teacher meetings early in the school year so the kids get a weekday off, and there were a LOT of school-age kids shopping with their parents at a local grocery store (NOT located in the Uptown neighborhood) at noon today.

  16. Gayle - Yes, today was a regular school day. You can find a list of student days off here.

    I have no explanation for what you witnessed. From what I can tell, those kids should have been in school.

  17. My thoughts exactly, but I was afraid that if I had made any comments to the parents about this I would have gotten a dirty look at the very least.

  18. Why must this degenerate into potshots at Uplift? How was Uplift responsible for this? This was not a good way to start the morning at all, and it looked so ridiculous and sad to see these boys and young men behaving this way (I even heard one of them shout something like, I'm tired of doing this...)--but not once did I jump to twist this sad scene into an unwarranted potshot at our community's school.

    Uplift, to my knowledge, is not selective enrollment, so it's going to have by nature some kids
    who are not into the best of activities. Uplift has to work with what comes through its doors--but I'd venture to say that the vast vast majority of these kids do not involve themselves in the activities like those of this morning. It is really bigoted to continue to use the behavior of these few as proxy for all of Uplift.

    I am not sure what kind of control realistically Uplift can have over them outside of school. I'm not sure what was to be accomplished by "calling Uplift" to report activities outside of the school that even the POLICE have a hard time dealing with effectively. I do think it is beyond unfair to make comments that appear to paint ALL Uplift kids with a broad bad brush due to the behavior of an undesirable few.

  19. UW - Besides M@14 I don't see a single post that could be construed as a "potshot" at Uplift (and even that is a stretch if the story is true.) Having worked in education I know that a good administration takes notice of what happens to their students both in and out of school. No one here blamed Uplift for the problem. That doesn't mean, however, that they cannot be part of the solution. Schools often have more contact with the students than the families in these types of cases. They may know the students and can work with the family to help effect a positive change. Sometimes just letting the family know their son/daughter is involved in this type of behavior can be eye-opening for the parents (especially in households where the parents don't work the typical 9-5.)

  20. Yeah Uptwon Writer I think you are right we should not paint all the kids at Uplift with a "wide Brush" a spray can nozzle would be more fitting, based on the course they offer.

  21. Physically knotted, the tenor of a few--more than one-- of the comments essentially build on a theme of those "Uplift" kids, what is Uplift doing, etc, to suggest/imply and outright state (albeit sarcastically) that Uplift is the problem--and not some of the individual kids, or that Uplift is not doing "enough"--yet those people probably have no clue what actually happens in the school.

    I'm sure you read this blog enough to know that some commenters here take opportunities to swipe at Uplift in a wholesale manner. That was the case here, where a really ignorant comment was given a sense of legitimacy by these odd follow-up comments asking whether or not Uplift has been "alerted"? Again, I'm just trying to figure out what the expectation was--police can't handle them, but Uplift should send a drop squad on them?? PLus, how do you know what Uplift is doing within the school to deal with how kids are dealing with this chaos in their community?

    Problem is--and what bugs me--is that too many ignorant comments likes those made by "M" and "p" go unchecked on this board. Maybe you all are sort of "ignoring" them--but at times the silence reads more like implicit agreement. Basically, if I were to post some kind of snarky, ignorant comments about those "condo owners," I'd get a pile on of a comments telling me how ignorant and divisive I am--yet similar statements about Uplift (in the context of a post that is not even about Uplift) get nothing.

  22. Many schools have zero tolerance for in or out of school violence, UW. A friend teaches in Cicero where kids get suspended for gang activity that occurs outside of school. Perhaps that's why kids are well behaved commuting to and from and at school there. If these are Uplift students participating in gang-related activities, the school should WANT to be aware of such activities so that it can prevent retaliation from occurring. Ignorance is not bliss.

  23. Hey all. I heard a report this morning on Drex 103.5 FM that there is a new thing going on in the schools. The students arrange these fights in advance, take video of them and post them on YouTube to look cool and get attention, to get their '15 minutes of fame.' This problem is happening all over, not just here, and is not gang related.

    I don't know if this is what happened this morning or not, but it sounds just like what they described, and students know about the fights in advance through the social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, etc.

    The story said police are aware of this problem and have been prosecuting kids when they can be identified in the posted videos. They also prosecute the videographers and even the kids who just show up to watch, but don't participate in the actual fight.

  24. The police have an Explorers Group, a program with the goal of enhancing the relationship of the students with the police. I understand the 23rd District has been requesting that Uplift make use of this program.

    I know there are many other good ideas out there. I used to teach in an inner city school in Houston. I remember we teachers would take turns monitoring the areas around the school grounds to make sure problems were kept at a minimum when classes ended for the day. We found that there were fewer problems when this occurred... however I understand the dynamics are such that such an idea may not be possible today. Another idea would be working with the Local School Council to see what parents could do to organize themselves and other parents to assist in monitoring the areas after school. The ideas are endless.

    The Uplift administration may be aware of this problem and they could be acting on it, but I can't confirm it. I don't recall hearing from anyone at Uplift about this at the Beat 2312 CAPS meeting in the past. Beat 2312 CAPS happens to be meeting tonight, so maybe this could be one of the topics for tonight. I have a conflicting meeting on the southern end of the ward so I rotate attendance to these meetings.

  25. I think you make fair points, uptown writer.

    Since Uplift is not just a CPS but also a special project of the alderman, I think it faces some negative feelings in the wider community. And, the fighting seems to be recurrent (at least in the minds of longtime residents.) Nevertheless, I do agree that painting with a broad brush is the last thing that adults should be doing when it comes to children.

    So what to do? Since the theme of the school is "social justice" I would like to know how the school uses such problems as teaching moments? What should a community do or feel when they see students fighting? What kind of behavior is acceptable on city streets and on city transit? What is just or unjust about the rules and regulations that we make as a city? What responsibilities should a community have towards its local schools/children and what responsibilities should young men and women have toward the community in which they live? What should individuals do when no one else seems to be doing the right thing?

    These are the kinds of conversations that I would like to know are happening in the school and then continuing on with the larger community. That would be very appropriate given the school's theme. It is in the best interests of everyone to improve school-community relations but it requires adult interest and commitment for it to happen.

  26. Uptown Writer, no one is saying let's throw potshots at Uplift. The reason I mentioned the school to begin with is that the Dean of Students works with discipline issues in and out of the school. Since the students were wearing their Uplift badges, this makes it an Uplift issue. I am also a CPS teacher at another school, and this is a common occurrence. When crime (or the potential) is involved with students, the school gets involved. Also, the more that the school (and churches and neighborhood agencies) is in tune with what's going on in the community, the better.

  27. UPTOWN WRITER -- here's a good example of WHY a school needs to be aware of these outside activities.

  28. Meg, zero tolerance is being rejected by CPS as it is not showing itself to be an effective and measured way to respond to disciplinary issues, result in too many kids (especially black and latino) being suspended and expelled,arrested (and not necessarily for very violent or serious acts--for example, fights that used to result in reprimands, suspensions, would turn into arrests under ZP) thus more likely to be more susceptible to the streets. CPS modified its school code to move away from this policy and Huberman is acknowledging that it's just not working. If you wish not to remain ignorant, you should read about the "Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline."

    Sassy, what do you mean Uplift was a special project of Shiller's?? The process of selecting a school to replace Arai under the Ren 2010 was not an easy process--and I know, Sassy, because I got involved in it--and it was not some sort Shiller "done deal." A pretty diverse cross-section of the community (including in terms of income) participated in this process, and everyone wanted what was best for the kids in the community. Your comment really minimizes the fact that many people in this community were at that table trying to listen and learn and debate and build consensus on what would best serve the youth and the community.Your statement shows a woeful ignorance about how the school came to be, and makes it easier to understand what drives the negativity about Uplift, i.e., the perception that it's a Shiller "special project." And as for "social justice"--again, you have no clue how that principle manifests itself in the curriculum. But generally, learning about behaving properly in public, etc., these are elements of civility that any child should be taught in the home and school, whether it's a social justice or tech school or college prep. Sassy, what interest have you shown in actually getting to know what is happening in Uplift as opposed to letting your perception of it as a Shiller "special project" drive your assessment?


    I just saw this on the District 299 blog, which is about Chicago Public Schools. Interesting!

  30. Uptown Writer - my main point was your implication that this just isn't Uplift's problem. It's everyone's problem. To suggest otherwise is ignorant.

  31. Meg, where did I say it was not everyone's problem? What I objected to was the implication by some that Uplift is, at best, not doing anything, at worst, somehow encouraging bad behavior. That is a recurring theme when Uplift is discussed or alluded to, and my point is a lot of ignorance and bigotry is displayed in these sorts of comments--which have as much to do with a dislike/distrust of Shiller as they do with any honest believe that Uplift teachers and administrators don't care about what's going on in the community. That's not right, however you cut it.

  32. Oh, and not to take this too much further afield, but after the Ren 2010 process, Sassy, I had parents who were either involved in the process or who attended meetings tell me how appreciative they were and reported how well their kids were doing in Uplift. So just remember, yes, there are always going to be some bad apples (or at least bad acting apples) but that does not define an entire school.

  33. And as for "social justice"--again, you have no clue how that principle manifests itself in the curriculum. -Uptown Writer

    The following excerpt was taken from the News-Star around 4 years ago when Uplift had a mural on the outside of the school featuring Angela Davis and Che Guevera.
    Even though the images are gone from the schoolyard, outrage over the images of Davis and Guevara along with the graffiti-style script of words including "social justice" struck a nerve among some teachers particularly because Uplift has adopted the theme of social justice, which it is incorporating into its entire curriculum. The idea, Ng said, is to empower students by teaching them about civic leaders who have made a difference in their communities.

    In light of the example the school’s founders are trying to set, Ng said, "It’s almost hypocritical taking (parts of the mural) down without a fight." Perhaps the images will be recreated within the school building, he added. But for the time being, "it had to take a back seat to getting the school on track."

    UW, you can call it social justice if you want. My guess is that it didn't help the school form a bond with the rest of the community. Did you know the sawed-off shotgun used by Davis' boyfriend to kill an abducted judge belonged to her? Did you know that Che Guevera had death camps where hundreds of thousands of Cubans as young as 14 were killed and that he personally killed over 180 prisoners? Ng refers to them as civic leaders who made a difference in the community. It reminds me of the public safety event sponsored by Uplift where kids got the chance to sign up to join the Communist Party.

    I think we can all agree that violence on the streets is not to be tolerated. It would be helpful if the Uplift administration showed a little interest in working with the community and the police to curb it. Perhaps attending CAPS every once in awhile might be a start, but that means working with the residents and the police.

    I want to see the students do well. Everyone benefits when they succeed. My guess is that the Uplift staff are the ones with the real attitude problem.

  34. Gosh, uptown writer. Lots of vitriol in response a post beginning with "you make fair points, uptown writer."

    You respond by saying:

    Your statement shows a woeful ignorance about how the school came to be, and makes it easier to understand what drives the negativity about Uplift...

    If you re-read my comment, that was my point. Shiller's involvement in the Ren process and Shiller's friends on the staff are likely to be reasons for some negativity surrounding the school.

    Your comment really minimizes the fact that many people in this community were at that table trying to listen and learn and debate and build consensus on what would best serve the youth and the community.

    Where in my comment did I try to minimize the fact that people in the community were trying to listen and learn and build consensus? If you read any of my posts elsewhere you'd know that I am 100% for that and write incessantly about it needing to happen more often in Uptown. I was talking about Shiller's involvement, interest and actions regarding Uplift (i.e., a project of interest) and how that is likely to be driving longer term negativity toward the school. People who have been burned by Shiller or one of her compatriots tend not to forget it and the hard feelings tend to leak into all sorts of unexpected places. In my post, I was just pointing out the obvious and providing context. (BTW: As background for others, here is an article about Arai becoming Uplift: teachers launch social justice program.)

    So just remember, yes, there are always going to be some bad apples (or at least bad acting apples) but that does not define an entire school.

    Why do I need to remember that advice? Afterall, I said: "I do agree that painting with a broad brush is the last thing that adults should be doing when it comes to children." What lesson am I forgetting?

    So, to reiterate my points from the earlier post:

    1)adults should not ever be in the business of painting with a broad brush where kids are concerned; 2) in my opinion, Shiller's involvement in the school drives some of the negativity surrounding the school because of how she does things and how people react to her---its not just about Uplift; 3)I am pointing out where I think some of the negativity comes from, that is all; 4) I think community relations could and should be improved for the sake of the children and the community-at-large; 5) I think this is the job of adults; 6) I think that educators have unique insight on the issues, unique skills to deal with them and miss a fine educational opportunity for everyone if they don't find this to be a "teachable moment" as our president says; and 7) If the school wishes to take on the challenge of improving community relations, it makes most organizational sense for it to begin within the school under the guidance of the faculty and as an outgrowth of the core values of the school.

    Finally, I disagree with something that you said in you later post. You say

    learning about behaving properly in public, etc., these are elements of civility that any child should be taught in the home and school, whether it's a social justice or tech school or college prep.

    What I was attempting to get at in my 3rd paragraph list of questions is that being disruptive or outright violent on Uptown's streets ought to be dealt with more holistically in this kind of school. Our actions/inactions not only have individual consequences (i.e., like going to jail) but also social consequences. And you will also note that one of my questions acknowledged that the community has responsibilities to our youth as well. Frankly, I cannot see how these issues and concerns wouldn't run very deep in a school such as this. Isn't the point to get students to think critically about who they are in relation to the world around them? Isn't the peculiar reality of Uptown part of that world?

  35. Uptown Writer - I think you're right that a lot of comment boards get offtrack on Shiller hate, but I think you picked the wrong one to use your pulpit on. I think we're generally all in agreement that (a) violence is not good and (b) the community AND Uplift should be involved to stop it.

  36. City drafts its teams to launch 18 schools

    Chicago Tribune

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    Ana Beatriz Cholo

    But there was at least one surprise that came out of community discussions in recent weeks. In the Uptown neighborhood, a small band of Chicago Public Schools teachers is planning to operate a new program in the Arai Middle School building, edging out Perspectives and Chicago International, two prominent organizations that operate charter schools in the city.

    The teachers had won the backing of a transitional advisory council, one of the community groups created to advise the school system. On Friday, schools chief Arne Duncan surprised some in the education community by adopting that recommendation for Uplift, the name of the teacher-led group.

    Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), who was involved in the process, called the three Arai teachers who took the lead in the effort "incredible."

  37. UW, you've been given a lot of facts to confront your own preconceived notions.

    You can
    1) choose to hear it and allow it to influence your past perceptions
    2) be like a few others who respond with silence when facts don't correlate with their view of the world but jump at the opportunity to repeat the same argument when a new opportunity presents itself.
    3)do what many children do and resort to name calling.

    Which is it? I'm betting you go for option 2. Why don't you surprise me?

  38. And Option 2 it is!

    Remember that your denial of the facts won't make the facts disappear. Knowledge is power.