So I went to MLK from 1992 to 1996. My first year was pretty eye opening, because even the worst students in my middle school (all of which I shared my 6th grade class with) weren't as hardcore as the toughest students at King. In fact, one of them was happy that she had gotten transferred to Boone (which was quite literally the step before going to juvie) and would be attending school there, because it was a better learning environment for her. Well damn! That's pretty telling... However, my first year... Ooh it was a hot mess and quite the gear shift. There were pretty much fights daily, people smoking blunts in the stairwell, and daily metal detector searches (once they found a girl had razor blades tucked into her French roll, crafty)... Pretty much that was the norm and after awhile you get use to it. The next year, there were two riots between the Jamaicans and the other kids.
Full disclosure, I missed the first riot because I hookied that day. I think I spent the entire day with my boyfriend at the time, who was Alex... I think that was how I spent that day?! But the second riot, I was there for, but left before things got really bad. I mean, the security guards were telling students around 10 AM or so, if you wanted to leave for the day, it was ok, so I took that option and got out of dodge before the crap really hit the fan. And from what I was told it got really bad by lunch time. There were multiple fights in multiple lunchrooms. Something about someone was on the 2nd floor balcony with a shotgun (which I don't really believe in hindsight, but who knows). But pretty much I think the police were called in and for about a week or two there was a heavy police presence at our school.
In 11th grade a teacher was raped in a classroom, I think either before or after school and yet again there was a heavy police presence at the school. I kinda don't remember how long they were there. Plus we also had a lot of media around school too, which was weird.
My 12th grade year, it was pretty quiet. Yeah there were fights, but it seemed like they calmed down a lot. Either that or I just stopped paying attention to them one of the two. The most thing that was going on was in in-house fight with the teachers and school administrators, because they vehemently opposed the choice for Principal. Something about he hid in his office and only wanted to job so he could get a higher position at the school board. I agree, the Vice Principal (the one who tried to make me sing for the school talent show) was the one who was really involved with the school and it's staff and students. But I'm sure there were fights, I probably didn't pay them any mind. I mean 4 years of that nonsense, of course you'll phase it out after awhile.
So this brings me to nearly 22 years later and Wharton High School. Well, hell, I know I should be concerned for my step kids safety, but I'm not. Wharton is not near lawless wasteland my high school was and pretty much with all these Zero-tolerance policies schools have, I'm not in the least concerned about him and fights. I'm not even concerned about how they affect him. I probably should be, but I'm really not. School is an anomaly, his home life isn't. And honestly, I used my awful high school experience as motivation to not be there with those people any longer than I had to (Oh they used to tell us all the time, "Y'all on the 5 year plan." or "Y'all on the 6 year plan". I swear, candidates for a Ted Talk, really...). I also used that as a reason why I decided that I would NEVER have a child of mine in public school.
However, I suppose school should be a safe place for students, but I think that's kinda a pipe dream. People tend to forget that being a teenager is super weird. If you are having problems of any sort, you most likely don't know how to deal with it in any constructive manner, and you will lash out at any and everyone around or do stupid self-destructive crap, be it drugs, alcohol, or sex. Kids have a lot of stuff going on. Some have family issues, some have mental health issues, most have problems with social media feeding into and play on anxieties (something I'm grateful I didn't have to deal with when I was a kid), and then throw in general run of the mill peer pressure! Plus add teenage rampant hormones into the mix, forget it, it's a powder keg waiting to both implode and explode.
I've always said, you couldn't pay me to go back to high school and man, is that never more true than now.