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What Should Schools Teach When Students Are Being Murdered?

Shouldn't schools explicitly teach students how to get home safely with the same level of rigor and accountability as in a science lesson?


Last fall, Terrence Roberts became the fifth student from the same high school in New Orleans to be killed by gunfire in a six-month stretch. Just one murder in a school can dramatically alter its community, identity and academic trajectory, but what does school become after a sordid span of five murders? What lessons should be taught? What goals should the teachers and students work toward?

Philosopher John Dewey famously said, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." Unfortunately, the deaths of students at NET Charter High School accentuate the point that schools and curricula should never be so focused on the abstract future that they ignore social contexts, economic forces and—unfortunately—the guns that students face in the here and now.

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