I watched an episode of Frontline on PBS. It focused on the topic of high school students dropping out of school prior to graduating with a diploma.
Four students at Sharpstown High School in Houston, TX demonstrate the example of the at-risk students in this community. Their lives involve topics that, in a political debate seem like another bullet point to hit, but, in reality, they are quite sad circumstances. Alcoholic dad, deceased mother and unmentioned father, immigrant parents facing deportation and mother in and out of jail. All of this while trying to pass and graduate high school and one of them - mother to a son.
One young man, whose father had already been deported and mother was currently facing deportation, was working close to 40 hours per week to help keep his family afloat. His father was no longer available to provide for his family because he had already been deported. Because this student worked so much, he found it difficult to come to school. He was tired and concerned about his home life.
The school houses a daycare for the children of the students. Yes, you read that correctly. There was one young lady who was 17 years old with a 3-year old and a 2-month old.
These students deal with issues only seen to some in movies or on television, like this show. The question becomes, though, who fixes it for them and with them? Can their situations be reversed? More importantly, who mends their broken hearts?
I also thought about the fact that everyone wanted them to graduate high school. If we can just get them to graduate... I kept thinking, Then what? These kids are being encouraged to finish high school. They are being "carried" to finish high school. When they graduate and/or turn 18, who encourages them along their life's path? At what point in their lives do they choose to make it better?
Here's my answer whenever I hear this debate: Harlem Children's Zone. I saw Geoffrey Canada on Oprah years ago and I have never forgotten about him and his project.
If you stop by either or both of the links in this post, please let me know what you think.
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