The Odyssey Project, now in its fifth year, is using the arts to combat recidivism for juvenile offenders in a completely unprecedented way: by creating an arts-based "intervention" at that critical point near the end of a juvenile offender's teen years, when, like Odysseus, they have life choices to make that will indelibly determine their future's path.
Before we so simply make the decision that a child is in despair and "just can't do the work" we should consider the work that we are giving them. Is it empowering or is rote? Is it meaningful or is it memorization? Is it motivational or is it drudgery? We have the choice to make learning exceptional which leads to creating exceptional students. And, when our students win, we win.
The existence of the metal detectors is a constant irritant to the Black and Latino students who attend these schools, a repeated statement about their second-class educational citizenship, and a reminder of police repression of minority youth and the school-to-prison-pipeline that infects American society.