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The Gang's All Here
(smirk, gang paranoia)

At my job as a substitute teacher in the Chicago Public School
system, the threat of gangs taking over the school is everpresent. 
Subsequently, the school has been forced to enact a series of
draconian policies concerning gang paraphenalia.
     What precisely is paraphenalia?  Anything from gestures,
slogans, articles of clothing, and even words written on
schoolbooks.  The big gangs are easy to target, but it's the
smaller ones, trying to make a name, that create the problems.  So
we've been told, "when in doubt, turn them in, and let the
Discipline office sort it out."  The penalty for possession?  A
week's in-school suspension.
     Two days ago, I was walking by a male student's desk, and
noticed him writing in the balloon-style so common to "taggers"
(grafitti artists) and gang-bangers.  I hovered over him, waiting
for him to notice me, and put it away.
     He contined to write, carefully spelling out "L..A..T..I..."
     I figured I had seen enough.  I called his attention to my
presence, and he tried to cover up the page.
     "You know you're not supposed to do any gang writing on your
school books."
     He glanced around, looking for a way out.  "It's not gang
writing.  It's more of a...gang font."
     He had me there.  I let him go. 

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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