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Hey everyone.  I say this with a heavy heart tonight, and needed to share it with somebody outside of my workspace.  I woke up to a phone call this morning that one of my students, a 15 year old ninth grader, was shot five times and killed right down the street from my south side Chicago school last night.  It appears to be a targeted gang shooting.  Even as I type out this senseless act of violence my heart is pounding and I can't make sense of it.

In my sixth year in the Chicago public school system, I've never personally experienced this level of violence before, even as it seems to be the norm.  Many of the students were shocked by the news, and even more disturbing to me was how many students found the news "normal".  I know that there is a good chance that there will be retaliatory violence in the neighborhood over the weekend and there were already kids in the school talking about it.

I need a couple of stiff drinks.

6:18 PM PT: Thanks everybody.  The messages from you here and in private were very helpful, and I know I did the right thing by essentially "going public" on the internet with how I felt about it.  You might be strangers, but we have a strong community here that I'm prouder to be a part of after seeing your support.

To clarify, I'm not a teacher.  I manage a mentoring and tutoring program at the school and this was one of the students we worked closely with.  One of the very hardest things was watching the reaction from my team when I had to tell them the news.  They had built such a strong relationship with him that it felt like telling a parent their child had died.

Now I'm just struggling to find and give the right answers for them that will help them as well as processing and coping with it myself.  We have professionals at the school until Monday to help those who need it and a company hotline as well.  But the team is looking up to me and I have no easy answers or inspirational things to tell them.

Originally posted to Reality Bytes on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers.

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