Blackboard Jungle.

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He was sent to serve his apprenticeship at Eugene Debs High School for Business Careers (yes, a school for budding capitalists named after America’s most famous socialist). A quick internet search informed him that “a full-blown riot the year before had led the police to establish a ‘mini-precinct’ inside the school. Tabloid articles warned of ‘dangerous overcrowding’ and a dropout rate hovering around 50 percent.” Not much more encouraging was one recent graduate’s description of the place as “a grate school” with “awsome buziness programs!!!”

Walking past the metal detectors on the first day, the author heard angry voices and hurried to see what was the matter. It turned out to be a fierce shouting match between two adult faculty members. One of them was the “master teacher” from whom the author was to learn his trade.

When Mr. Boland first stepped into a ninth grade classroom as an assistant teacher, the racial structure was obvious: “Black kids to the left, Latinos to the right, a trio of Asians near the radiator.” There were no whites; indeed, the only white among 800 ninth graders was the son of East European diplomats who were “probably clueless about the school’s violent reputation.” New York schools are said to be the most racially segregated in the nation.

The author began by eavesdropping on student conversation: “Man, those phone sex lines are a whole lot of bullshit. I’m looking for free tail and they full of hookers.” On the other side of the room, an obviously homosexual “Latino Liberace” was leading a trio of Dominican girls in “withering group assessments of the boys’ physiques. ‘Yes, girl, he do have booty, but, let’s see, is he packin’ up front? Don’t think so!’ ”

The teacher announces, “Today we start World War II,” and is immediately interrupted: “Hey, Mister, I heard Hitler was a faggot.” “Yeah. I heard he was a Jew.” “One ball in his sack, that’s all that bad boy had was one mother-fuckin’ ball,” says the Latino Liberace. “Eww, gross,” squeals a pair of girls in unison. The lesson goes downhill from there.

(American Renaissance, March 4, 2016).

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