“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” – An African Proverb
If you have ever seen Black Panther, then you understand the above quote. Killmonger had no love for his homeland because he remembered how his homeland neglected him. He desired to have love and admiration, but he did not get it. So, when he was old enough, his resentment grew, and he wanted to destroy his homeland. When we think about our youth and how our schools neglect them, we creating a generation of Killmongers who will follow a path of destruction.
Schools should provide students a path to a better future. For some children, a school is a place to learn, but some children need more. Schools have a bigger obligation that extends far beyond the notion that school is only an institution of learning.
For the children I serve, my school is a beacon of hope, a place of opportunity, and a safe haven. Unfortunately, schools on the far east side of Indianapolis face a different plight than schools in other areas in our city. This side of Indy is known for high crime, especially for its youth. Our schools have to do more. Our schools have to do more for the children of the far east side because our children are dying. Our children are killing one another. Our schools have to do more than get our children across the stage; we have to keep them out the grave.
The latest in the heartbreaking murders was the shooting death of a 17-year-old last Sunday. While walking home from the park in the same neighborhood where my school is located, a car pulled up and a shot was fired striking and killing the teen. This was just the latest example of a child being sent to the grave instead of walking across a stage. Too many of our children are being taken away at such an early age. Schools have a part to play because we have sent too many of our children back to the streets. We have sent them to the streets not equipped with the skills for survival. Not only do they not have the skills equipped to survive, but they feel as though the school and community have turned their back on them.
The question is how does the school save its children from the streets?
- The school must take responsibility. We have to understand when we do not allow children to come to school or we kick children out of school, we are another entity that has turned our backs on them. Even our most difficult children need to feel the school has not given up on them.
- The school must educate the child. Too many schools serve as glorified babysitters. A school is a place to educate and engage children in learning, in hopes of sparking something inside of the child that will motivate them to improve their lives and to want more out of their lives.
- The school and the community have to be one. The school is a part of the community. The community is part of the school. Both need to be on the same page. The school cannot fail because the community will fail. If the community fails, then the school will also fail. I believe that this partnership is how we save our children. The school and the community being one is how we keep our children from becoming victims instead of victors.
It should anger us every time another child is put in the grave. It should sadden us that children in school have to watch their classmates get buried. We have an obligation to teach and protect our children from those forces that look to take them out. We have to make sure that we do not turn our backs on our children because when we do, they look support in the wrong places.