Normandy High and Riverview Gardens: Close Them Both, Save the Children
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.
- Paula Deen Should Probably Just Own It
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.