Normandy High and Riverview Gardens: Close Them Both, Save the Children

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Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from St. Louis city. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 21 and will be followed up by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.

I hated high school. Every time I reflect back upon my high school career I think about the time I was listening to the radical rap group Dead Prez in my headphones and simultaneously praying that somehow, someway, my bus would flip over before we arrived to school. I probably said this prayer a few times a week. The bus never flipped over.

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We never experienced anything even remotely close to this happening, actually. Just a fairly boring and sometimes annoying bus ride, every morning. When I arrived to school I pretty much felt like everyone in every single class on my schedule was a moron. Like I said: I absolutely hated high school. With a passion.

For some reason I convinced myself that if the bus actually did flip over, everyone else on it would either die or suffer from injury while I walked away with the protective glow of a Greek God. This summarizes my high school experience, for the most part. We lived in the Riverview Gardens School District, which we relocated to from the Normandy School District. At this current point in time the state of Missouri has taken the accreditation from both of these districts. The state of Missouri claims it is completely legal for parents of any student attending one of these schools to enroll their child into a school that has not lost accreditation.

As always in our wonderful city, the racial and economic divide between people of different communities has sparked controversy, and at the root of the problem the children will suffer more than anyone. I think responsible parents have always wanted more for their children than both of these school districts are prepared to offer. I'm not saying you're an irresponsible parent if your children attend either of these schools. I'm simply saying that critics of both school districts have long existed, and the lack of resources among both is not a brand new problem.

I attended school in the Riverview district for a few years and then my parents sent us to private school. I eventually graduated from North County Tech, which is basically a trade school. My life at Tech wasn't all peaches and cream, but it was a good medium between my life at Rosary Catholic High School and Riverview Gardens. I didn't realize the sacrifice my parents were making at the time. We didn't necessarily have the most money, even though we weren't dirt poor. As a child I simply didn't appreciate the value attached to the struggle my parents endured in the name of making sure myself and my siblings received the best possible education.

The public school system didn't do me any good because on some level I was too smart for my peers. I initially had remarkable grades, but as I grew older being the smartest kid in the class birthed its own demons. I was thrown into private school as a means to be surrounded by children that were on my level. I enjoyed my private school days more so than my public school days, but I never really made any friends. I was closed off and didn't know how to socialize with my peers. It didn't help that there were hardly any black kids in any of my classes, and occasionally someone would say a jacked-up racist remark.

For the most part I never really spoke much at school, which was like torture to me because I'm an extremely talkative person by nature. I tend to be very quiet in situations that aren't the most comfortable. I was the most comfortable at Normandy; I had friends and people that I was in the process of growing up with. I knew each of them from the previous school year and so forth. I actually saw one of my old Normandy classmates at a wedding last weekend and it felt like a family reunion of some sort. This is weird because I left the district after my fourth grade year of schooling. But each and every time I saw one of my old classmates we would talk as if we never skipped a beat. This energy has continued among us till this very day because that's the type of cultural closeness our classroom structure developed within us.

But I was shell-shocked and completely petrified by the local gangs in the proximity of our school. I left the district in fifth grade and never felt comfortable in any form of a school environment afterwards. All the kids at Riverview Gardens were pretty much county pricks. All the kids at the private schools I went to were basically enormous anal probe installers. In any transfer situation it seems as if you never completely fit in.

Since losing its accreditation, the Normandy School District officials have decided to make this transfer process as painful as possible for both the parents and students seeking to leave the district. The district was allowed to select the school the children the flee will be bused to. They have decided to send these children to Francis Howell North. While the parents are free to select any neighboring district, this will be the only school that will have free transportation available to the students from Normandy. Riverview Gardens has selected the Mehlville District as their school of choice for free transportation available to students leaving that hell-hole.

For the remainder of this blog post I will do the Lord's work and slander the hell out of both of these school districts.


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19 comments
Peter En Passant Stewart
Peter En Passant Stewart

When ever I read about mass school shootings, the trend seems to be white males that are growing up in middle class families. So if anything I fear for the Normandy children more then anything.

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

don't close them, fix them!!

kay_kay75
kay_kay75

The first thing that everyone needs to realize is that Normandy just  sat an almost completely new School Board, they also just hired a new Super for the school district that took his position on 7/1, this did not happen overnight and it won't get fixed over night. However with that being said there are so many parents out there that don't give a darn what their kid does during school that it won't matter where they go to school. They need to start by "firing" all of the teachers and making them reapply for their jobs, they have to prove that they can teach these kids and have a passion for them not just for the almighty dollar they get paid. Second thing is some how the community needs to get engaged and start expecting more of the young people in the area, don't accept the status quo, expect more and let these kids know that you expect more. I agree that bussing the kids to another school district is a band aid on a sliced artery so it isn't doing much good but it is a start. Parents need to wake up and be parents, not their kids friend, single parents need the support of their friends, loved ones and neighbors to help these kids succeed. It will be a tough row to hoe but in the end it will be worth it to these kids!!!!

Daryl Sutphen
Daryl Sutphen

What a bunch of rednecks , it will be the good kids, the ones who's parents do care and support their kids who want to transfer them... RGSD does not suffer from overcrowding, a lack of money or nice buildings. It has a documented racial basis, (against white male administrators) just check out previous Post-Dispatch articles dating back 12-15 years. My son is in HS, a honor student, perfect attendance, National Honor Society, mentors younger students and so on...he will succeed no mater what, but I want the best for him for the next three years. I don't have to send him to Melville, but I will have to transport him and we have picked our top 3 choices and are awaiting notification.

Bill Bernickus
Bill Bernickus

Toilet plunger up the anus? Serious journalism? Really?

John Klostermann
John Klostermann

If the students don't want to learn. They will do the same no matter where they go. That IS why those two schools are in the shape there are in.

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

Go ahead and bus them somewhere else and ruin those districts as well..

Dan Moore
Dan Moore

A very well written article. I lived through the desegregation of the 70's and it wasn't the end of the world. I made many new friends that I would've never met otherwise and my academic life was richer and fuller because of the experience.

Meg Mertz
Meg Mertz

Will someone find good teachers that want to teach students for these districts so that they won't go to other districts and over-crowd them where NO ONE will get a good education, let alone an education?

Rick Firestein
Rick Firestein

Will someone save the country from the race baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Chimpton. ..?

Jacob DeVore
Jacob DeVore

Will somebody save this thread from the internets?

Ryan Stufft
Ryan Stufft

Will someone save them from the subtle racism that is brewing in the Francis Howell school district?

Jacqueline Perkins
Jacqueline Perkins

i just wonder how these kids that are being shipped to other schools are doing? are they failing in the new accredited school as well or are they flourishing?

Jacqueline Perkins
Jacqueline Perkins

i think they need to scrap the current program and start fresh with a progressive approach and teach these kids in a way that they will absorb the info. as a matter of fact i think that needs to happen nationwide.

mreznicek72
mreznicek72

Tef Poe may make a connection between his thoughts on the subordination of education in these communities and this gentleman's lecture on general socioeconomic bs along and across racial lines…

http://youtu.be/J3Xe1kX7Wsc

chica2270
chica2270

For the life of me I can't understand why our city, county, state, country is not outraged at the dire straits of most public education. It should be our number one priority and instead it's falling through the cracks. Schools should be revamped and not lose their accreditation. If they're failing, fix them. Busing kids to other districts isn't the answer. They need to go to school in their neighborhood, in a safe environment. If the kids are in danger at school remove those causing the danger. Fix the public school program, PERIOD. Our country will fail if we don't strive to improve our education process....

reverendstrawfoot
reverendstrawfoot

I love reading your pieces. Always so well thought out, eloquently stated. Thanks for being a part of our city.

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