Posted on March 18, by Ethan Every few years, This American Life puts forward a piece of radio reporting that raises the bar for journalism as a whole. Trying to understand the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago and its implications for children growing up in this violent environment, TAL placed three reporters in Harper for five months. In the previous academic year, 29 current and recent students were shot.
We pick up where we left off last week in our second hour of stories from Harper High School in Chicago. We find out if a shooting in the neighborhood will derail the school's Homecoming game and dance.
We hear the origin story of one of Harper's more prominent gangs. And we ask a group of teenage boys: Principal Leonetta Sanders is worried that in the wake of a recent shooting, some of her students at Harper might be in danger of retaliatory violence.
The threat is so real, she's considering canceling the school's Homecoming football game and dance. The possibility of canceling is heartbreaking to her, though, as all she wants is to give her students one normal high school dance. On Homecoming day, she gathers her staff to announce that there has been word of more shooting in the neighborhood.
Most murders in Chicago happen in public places — parks, alleyways, cars. Scores of Harper students will tell you they've actually seen someone shot.
Reporter Alex Kotlowitz talks with a junior named Thomas, who has seen more than his fair share. Thomas meets with his social worker, Anita Stewart, and tries to explain what it feels like to hold all of these images — and feelings — inside of him.
He worries he can't hold on to them much longer. Reporter Ben Calhoun tells the story of Terrance Green, a year-old who was killed three years ago but is still an iconic presence at Harper.
Ben asks Terrance's dad and his best friend: Why did this one kid's death lead to slickly produced songs, tribute videos, a gang in his name, assault rifles on the street and an entire remapping of the violence in the area around Harper High School? Chicago has strict gun laws but, obviously, teenagers are somehow getting their hands on guns.
We've all heard about straw purchasers and gun shows but year-olds aren't spending hundreds of dollars to buy guns, or exploiting gun show loopholes. Reporter Linda Lutton gathers together a group of Harper boys and asks them: They tell her not only where they get them, but where they keep them, too.
In the first hour of our Harper High School shows, Alex Kotlowitz talked to a junior named Devonte who a year earlier had accidentally shot and killed his year-old brother. Devonte was forming a strong relationship with Crystal Smith, one of the social workers, and beginning to come to terms with both his grief and guilt.
Alex checks back in with Devonte and finds out that his life has taken some troubling turns.William Rainey Harper High School (commonly known as Harper High School) is a public four-year high school located in the West Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, United States.
Harper serves students in West Englewood and certain streets of Chicago Lawn. The Newtown school shooting awakened Americans across the country to the issue of gun violence, but for families in Chicago, the issue was already a bigger part.
Harbor High School Based on a small learning environment model, this program is designed to accommodate students. The building functions as a close-knit community with many supports and interventions to bolster student growth and achievement. The principal of Harper High School is Dean William Eckert.
2% of the Harper High School students have "limited English proficiency." children attend Harper High School, and the . At Harper High School in Chicago, twenty-nine current or recent students were shot in the span of a single year.
Learning of this staggering statistic, This American Life embedded three reporters at the school for five months. The graph displays the total number of students enrolled in this school over the past five years. The exact numbers are listed below the graph.