Monday, November 07, 2011

Crittenden Middle School Mountain View

Steve Jobs biographySteve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson has a view insights on the state of school education back then. Steve Jobs attended Crittenden Middle School in Mountain View before leaving for Cupertino.

The sixth grade was in a different school, Crittenden Middle. It was only eight blocks from Monta Loma Elementary, but in many ways it was a world apart, located in a neighborhood filled with ethnic gangs. “Fights were a daily occurrence; as were shakedowns in bathrooms,” wrote the Silicon Valley journalist Michael S. Malone. “Knives were regularly brought to school as a show of macho.” Around the time that Jobs arrived, a group of students were jailed for a gang rape, and the bus of a neighboring school was destroyed after its team beat Crittenden’s in a wrestling match. Jobs was often bullied, and in the middle of seventh grade he gave his parents an ultimatum. “I insisted they put me in a different school,” he recalled. Financially this was a tough demand. His parents were barely making ends meet, but by this point there was little doubt that they would eventually bend to his will. “When they resisted, I told them I would just quit going to school if I had to go back to Crittenden. So they researched where the best schools were and scraped together every dime and bought a house for $21,000 in a nicer district.”
It sound like not much changed in Crittenden Middle School. The except from student handbook about dress code states

Symbols or devices associated with gangs are not allowed at any time. While Crittenden students may not be gang affiliated, wearing overtly gang-related apparel or too much of one color can result in a safety issue, thus bandanas, belts or more than one red or blue item of clothing is allowed.

The explanation of crackdown on red and blue color is that Norteño gang emblems and clothing are based on the color red, while the traditional rivals of the Norteños are the Sureños gang who identify themselves with the color blue.

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