About five years ago, three young gang members came to the campus of my charter school in south Los Angeles looking for a student of mine. I was in my office. All of a sudden, a couple students ran in yelling my name and saying that there were people outside beating up a student. I ran out, and just as I was arriving, one of my student’s friends tried to grab the person who was beating him up, and the man started beating up this other young man as well. He was hitting him with something in his hand.
I saw it was a gun.
I screamed for the gathering crowd of students to get back, and for the teachers to take them to their rooms. I remember having to push through the students because a couple of them wanted to grab this man with the gun to get him off of their friend. “No, I’ll do it,” I said, and I grabbed his arm. I grabbed his arm and then—I didn’t even remember this part until students told me afterward—he pushed me to the ground. I got back up and grabbed his arm again and he looked at me and he stopped beating this kid. He got up and we just stared at each other.
He yelled at me to get away from him and he started running. I know that there were other people with him, but I don’t even remember seeing them. He ran across our campus and out the gate, and I was chasing him and his friends down the street as I was calling 911. I remember the police saying to me, “Why are you chasing people who have a gun?” And I said, “They hurt my students, they hurt my students.”