Sometimes I find myself drawn to the homicide reports in the LAtimes. I zoom in on the area where my school is located. It has the largest red circle of the LA metropolitan area (denoting the most homicides this year). I search the list for names I know, or deaths that are between 12 and 16 (meaning I might have taught them in my three years at the school). Then I zoom in on our block and run the mouse over the red dots to see the names of those who died near the school. I never found anything familiar until today. First, I found the report of my student’s father who was shot two weeks ago. Then I saw a name of a 15 year old girl. The name looked just like that of a girl I had three years ago. I read over the article but I couldn’t remember any of the words I was reading, just her face and how shy she was and praying this wasn’t the same girl. I can’t find any photos. I think maybe the last name was different. I can’t stop searching through articles and Facebook profiles trying to find some proof that she is not my same student. As if that even matters. She is still another 15 year old girl, shot dead in our neighborhood.
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a Teach For America teacher’s blog