The Freedom Writer’s Diary

In the nineties racial tension soared in Long Beach, California after the Rodney King riots. A young teacher named Erin Gruell knew that going into her job at Wilson High School, but she still wasn’t totally prepared. Not only did the students judge each other by race, but the teachers did as well. They would stereotype and discriminate against their own students because of race and wealth. Also, there was a status quo at Wilson High School among the teachers. New teachers didn’t get to stay with their classes for four years, nor were they allowed to organize field trips. But Erin was willing to disrupt the status quo, give up her nights, and even work two extra jobs if it meant helping her students in Room 204. Together she and 150 students made a book compiled of journal entries that told their stories during all four years of high school. A lot of stories are moving, and many tragic. Several of these students went through hell and for one reason or another ended up in the “dumb” class. But they ended up proving everyone wrong, though, including themselves. This was a very powerful book and is definitely a must-read for everybody. It’s hard to believe some of the things the students went through, and it’s amazing they were able to do so much, even getting the audience of the Secretary of Education and going to Anne Frank’s house. I think everyone should read this book because it has such a powerful message, and is extremely well written. Make sure you order it from your local bookstore: IndieBound

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