"We didn’t even know our kids’ names yet," said Deborah Rogers, who teaches English and reading to 7th and 8th graders at the school. "We hadn’t given schedules out yet. But we had to sit down and have a serious conversation on race."
Like the rest of the St. Louis community, including their own teachers, Gateway students had emotional discussions about being black in America, about mistrust of the police, about peaceful demonstration and violent protest. They were asked to write down what they were feeling about Ferguson, with the assurance that no sentiments were out of bounds.
Below are excerpts from the responses penned by a group of 7th and 8th graders at the school.
I’m feeling, I don’t know, like I can’t even say the words I’m feeling because they are curse words. But I’m tired of turning on the news and know[ing] when they say someone has been shot that it’s one of my kind.
I’m mad that a 18 year old died and he was unarmed. I feel scared because people are using violence a lot and policemen are using teargas and rubber bullets. I’m shocked that police are doing this to humans. They just speaking their mind.
People have been treating us blacks wrong for so many years and we have done NOTHING WRONG.
White man kills black guy, paid to leave. Black man kills white guy, PRISON FOR LIFE NO BAIL.
What if one day my brothers are walking down the street and the police try to beat them or even kill [them]?
It hurts to know that a policeman, somebody who is hired and paid to protect me, has shot and killed a young man. This young man Mike Brown had his whole life ahead of him only 18 about to start college in a few days. It hurts me knowing somebody has it in them to kill somebody so easily.
This is more than hurtful it’s shameful, racist, ignorant, and just sad.
I think the protests have been good. What do you expect when something so ignorant happens? … I understand some things like looting and firing up stores seem crazy and uncalled for but if we’re not peacefully getting justice this is what has to be done.
I know and everyone knows that Darren Wilson had no right to shoot Michael Brown. Michael was unarmed and he surrendered. He had his hands up in the air.
I’m mad because showing the footage of Michael Brown stealing from a convenient store was so irelevent and unimportant.
I don’t like that when they put the video out, they were trying to make Michael look bad, look like a criminal.
I feel like the things that are happening in Ferguson are unfair. I thought after Trayvon Martin the killing will stop but it comes back again. What did Mike Brown do for the police officer to kill him?
If he was a caucasian male will he still shoot?
Read more at the Huffington Post.