Welcome to High School

I had to go to a north side high school yesterday to sign the boys up for summer swimming classes.

(Because they are learning to swim this summer, dammit.)

It was some distance from our house and I hadn’t seen it before, but it was a large, lovely campus. Lots of glass windows, newer construction. The guidance office, where registration took place, was a big, well-appointed room with computers for college searches and banners from top colleges all over the country on the walls. In fact, the school is called Northside College Prep High School.

But the fact remains that it is a public high school in one of America’s largest cities. And so perhaps I should not have been startled to see this sign posted on either side of the front doors.

It’s reality in the city, but hard to imagine my kids as gangly teenagers walking past those signs every day after passing the Chicago Police cruiser that’s stationed out front. (Is it always there?)

I’m a strong proponent of public schools. Matt and I put in the effort required to find good ones for our kids in San Francisco and Chicago and have been happy enough with the results. The good far outweighs the not-so-good. But I’ve always said that I would consider a private school for high school, if need be.

Because if it meant my kids could walk into a school where there were no reminders to check your guns and knives at the door, it might be worth it to me.


7 responses to “Welcome to High School

  1. Cheezus Pleezus.


    And to think that my biggest problem with my students is confiscating Blackberries as they text surreptitiously under their jackets.

  2. Serious business, indeed. Here’s an article about guns in Chicago’s schools from today’s New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Chicago-Student-Deaths.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=print

  3. Wow. Timely article indeed. That does explain the cop sitting out front.


  4. scary. i went to private school. don’t know anything about the cruisers or weapons.

  5. Emily, as some know me

    I’m not even sure we’ll make it through public middle school here, and this is a long way from inner city where we live. But our concerns aren’t about guns and public school. They’re just about school.

    My parents were very pro-public school in that egalitarian, we-were-hippies-in-the-60s-and-our-kids-aren’t-any-better-than-anyone-else’s kind of way. It kind of ruined my life for about eight years. They wised up with my younger siblings and sent them to very small prep schools, where they both had a much nicer experience. But I probably would ONLY have been really successful at a home school, anyway.

  6. Life As I Know It

    Scary, isn’t it?

  7. I should add that I might worry about middle school too except that Baxter’s school is K-8. I love that about Chicago – they’ve eliminated the crappy middle schools. We are very, very lucky to have a pretty amazing K-8 school in a big city.

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