So many of the shootings in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, the neighborhood where Harper High sits, are characterized as "gang-related." Often, the implication is that gang-related means there is a reason to the shooting — huge, established gangs shooting it out over drug territory. Gang-related often implies you must've deserved it, a certain level of 'what goes around comes around.' Reporter Linda Lutton talks to dozens of Harper students who say adults don't understand that that's not the way it works.
Reporter Alex Kotlowitz spends time in the social work office, where the effects of gun violence are most often apparent. Early on in the year, social worker Crystal Smith spends time with a junior named Devonte, talking him through his grief and guilt after Devonte accidentally shot and killed his 14 year old brother last year.
By early October, it's been pretty quiet at Harper, as far as gun violence goes. But on the day before the homecoming game, during a pep rally, a senior named Damoni who is both on the football team and nominated for Homecoming King, gets word that a good friend of his, James, has been shot.
At three high schools in Palm Beach County, Florida, several young police officers were sent undercover to pose as students, tasked with making drug arrests. And this, this is the setting for a love story, reported by Robbie Brown.
A live performance detailing a humiliating love affair. When comedian Mike Birbiglia was in high school, he fell for a cool girl named Amanda.
Julia Lurie is an American teaching English at an all-girls high school in Gwangju, a city in South Korea. When she first got there, some things struck her as strange: On every floor of the school there was a full-length mirror, as well as a scale.
A 17-year-old Ethiopian girl who is just learning English goes with her teacher to face her fears head-on: She orders tea in a local coffee shop. A woman in America talks to Ira about her husband, in Syria, who is currently negotiating with kidnappers for the release of two of his employees.
A teenager runs away from home to move in with someone he's never met, his idol, the person he respects most of all — a fantasy writer named Piers Anthony. Logan Hill reports.
Host Ira Glass interviews a 14-year old named Annie, who emailed us asking if we would do a show about middle school. She explains why exactly the middle school years can be so daunting.
In an effort to understand the physical and emotional changes middle school kids experience, Ira speaks with reporter Linda Perlstein, who wrote a book called Not Much Just Chillin' about a year she spent following five middle schoolers. Then we hear from producer Alex Blumberg, who was a middle school teacher in Chicago for four years before getting into radio.
We sent several correspondents straight to the epicenters of middle school awkwardness: School dances. Producers Lisa Pollak and Brian Reed, plus reporters Eric Mennel, Rob Wildeboer and Claire Holman spoke with kids across the country during the nervous moments leading up to the dances.
When Domingo Martinez was growing up in a Mexican-American family in Texas, Domingo's two middle school aged sisters found a unique way of coping with feelings of inferiority. This story comes from Martinez's memoir The Boy Kings of Texas.
We realized that there are already reporters on the ground, embedded inside middle schools: The kids who report the daily announcements, sometimes on video with full newscast sets. Producer Jonathan Menjivar wondered what would happen if instead of announcing sports scores and the daily cafeteria menu, the kids reported what's really on their minds.
Producer Sarah Koenig reports on a kid we'll call Leo, whose family moved away from Rochester, NY, leaving behind all of Leo's friends andstranding him in a new — and in his opinion, much worse — middle school.
Ira speaks with Shannon Grande, a teacher at Rise Academy in Newark, about a seventh grader who had all sorts of problems with behavior and hygiene and schoolwork. In order to help turn him around, Grande had to harness the power of peer pressure for good.
Host Ira Glass walks through a Kansas City Missouri amusement park called Worlds of Funwith Cole Lindbergh, who had a season pass to the park as a little kid,starting working there summers at 14, and then just stayed. Now he's afull-time, year-round employee, running the games department.
Jonathan Goldstein returns to Wildwood, New Jersey, where he spent one not-fateful summer when he was sixteen. Jonathan's the host of the podcast Heavyweight.
Ira tells what happened this week to Dan Curry in Odessa Texas on Wednesday, to eight-year-old Ruby Melman on Sunday in New Jersey, to Beau O'Reilly at a bike store in Chicago on Saturday, to Theodosha Alexander at the World Trade Center site on Thursday, to Dr. Wade Gordon in Afghanistan on Thursday, to a high school class at the Grand Canyon on Wednesday, and at a bar in New York City on Saturday.
Ira reports from Glynn County Georgia on Superior Court Judge AmandaWilliams and how she runs the drug courts in Glynn, Camden and Waynecounties. We hear the story of Lindsey Dills, who forges two checks on herparents' checking account when she's 17, one for $40 and one for $60, andends up in drug court for five and a half years, including 14 months behindbars, and then she serves another five years after that—six months of itin Arrendale State Prison, the other four and a half on probation.
Host Ira Glass remembers one of his favorite jobs, as a temp typist working at night in New York City. And we hear from a group of teenagers who create unique fun during the middle of the night when none of their classmates are awake.
There's a town in Florida where if you shoplift, and get caught, a judge will send you back to the scene of your crime to stand in front of the store, with a large sign that reads "I stole from this store." Ira and producer Lisa Pollak talk to one such teenager who was caught stealing from a convenience store, the supervisor overseeing her punishment, and the judge who sends her there.
When Molly Antopol was in 7th grade she learned what abortion was—and it sounded to her like murder. Her mom, a pro-choice activist made it her mission to change her daughter's mind.
Most media stories set in shopping malls don't really tell you much about what it feels like for the people who work in a big retail operation, or for the people who hang out at the mall. Because the mall's more than just sales.
Host Ira Glass talks with a high school senior about the lies she tells her mom, and if she'll ever reveal the truth.