The Hidden Legacy of Foshay Junior High School – Remembering the Nightmare

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LET ME BE CLEAR – I DID NOT WRITE THE ATTACHED COLUMN BELOW. I MERELY CUT AND PASTED THE COLUMN THAT ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE L.A. TIMES AND WRITTEN BY JERVEY TERVALON. IF YOU HAVE ISSUES WITH WHAT HE WROTE REGARDING FOSHAY – THEN ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES TO JERVEY TERVALON. I SURVIVED FOSHAY AND I AM PROUD THAT I ATTENDED FOSHAY. ONLY THE COURAGEOUS AND BRAVE ATTENDED FOSHAY IN THE 1980s AND I WAS PART OF THE GENERATION THAT WITNESSED THE VIOLENCE FIRST HAND. NOT THROUGH HEARSAY OR HOLLYWOOD CREATIONS. 

Op-Ed

Foshay Learning Center: A model for success

Nearly 40 years ago, the L.A. Unified school was more like a battle zone. But now, it is a model of success.

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Foshay Learning Center music teacher Vince Womack was named the recipient of the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation Award in 2010. The honor recognizes music teachers who instill a love of music in their students with their dedication, passion and leadership skills. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)Foshay Learning Center music teacher Vince Womack was named the recipient of the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation Award in 2010. The honor recognizes music teachers who instill a love of music in their students with their dedication, passion and leadership skills. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
By Jervey TervalonMay 22, 2011

It’s not pleasant to return to a place where, as a child, you were almost always afraid. So, a few years ago, when I stepped onto the campus of the James A. Foshay Learning Center, its familiar grim, Depression-era facade made my heart pound.

I spent some of the unhappiest days of my life at Foshay, back when it was Foshay Junior High. And when I graduated 38 years ago, I hoped I would never return. In the 1970s, the school was at the bottom of the education barrel. At 13, I felt I must have committed crimes I didn’t understand to have ended up there, because I was certainly being punished.

There were fights everywhere. Teachers were beaten and chased out of classrooms by angry students. Once, a food fight became a full-scale riot that ended only when the rest of the school day was cancelled and kids were ordered to leave campus. Sometimes we’d see rival gang members charging the school perimeter and hopping the fence. We assumed they were armed, so we fled like wildebeests.

It would have been impossible for me to explain to my parents how bad things were at Foshay, so I didn’t try. I worried that if I did, they would just move me to another school, and I assumed all schools were just as bad as Foshay, and all neighborhoods just as dangerous. I hunkered down and endured.

This is what I remembered of Foshay, and it was nothing I wanted to return to.

But then, four years ago, I happened to be flipping through Newsweek’s issue on the best high schools in the country, and I was startled to see Foshay Learning Center included on the list.

I had taught at Locke High School for five years, and I believe in public education. But I am a cynic by nature, having seen firsthand how education “reform” is often just smoke and mirrors. Before I could believe in the momentous changes at Foshay, I needed to see them with my own eyes.

I received an invitation to visit and tour the campus from Roger Estrada, then Foshay’s vice principal. Estrada had been at Foshay for all of its 13-year transition from atrocious — one of the 31 schools in the state facing receivership — to an education success story. He spoke movingly of Howard Lappin, the principal who had started the charge.

The first thing I noticed on entering Foshay’s familiar halls was how quiet they were compared with my time. I turned to a security aide sitting at a table signing folks in and out and asked: Was it always so quiet? He nodded.

Estrada pointed out a biology class where students were sitting at rapt attention as the teacher discussed fish habitat. He proudly showed me the newly renovated library. What caught my attention there was the charming section dedicated to the youngest students of Foshay, the 180 elementary kids. One of the biggest changes in the school since I was there, and there are many, is that it’s no longer a junior high. Foshay now educates children from kindergarten through 12th grade, currently the only K-12 school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Foshay may have 3,300 students, but somehow it feels more like a little red schoolhouse.

Things aren’t perfect. Although they have improved dramatically, the school’s test scores are still well below the state average. But in 2008-09, Foshay’s graduation rate was an impressive 88%.

Moreover, in the years since I attended Foshay, it has become an integral part of its community. The school involves local residents in its governance and demands that parents support its efforts with time and energy. Estrada pointed out the well-appointed computer room with new laptops, where a lesson in computer literacy for adults was going on. “The parents wanted this,” he said, and “we provided it for them.” A campus medical clinic is open not just to students but to the neighborhood.

After my tour of Foshay, I knew that I wanted to be involved with its continuing transformation. And not too long after I had a fortuitous meeting with Kim Thomas-Barrios, executive director of the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a university outreach program that aims to provide the kind of academically rigorous support that students, teachers and the community need to realize the dream of higher education. Many program participants are from Foshay, and almost every child who stays with it until graduation goes on to college. About 35% of them go to USC, with full financial aid, and of the students who have gone on to USC, 92% have graduated, a higher rate than USC students as a whole.

At Thomas-Barrios’ invitation, I became involved with NAI’s Foshay students. We started the Literature for Life program and hosted the first USC Young Writers Conference in April. We are now planning a range of literary resources on the Web for educators. It has all been immensely satisfying to see that the dark days at Foshay are over.

Not every L.A. Unified school has the leadership or the talented teachers that Foshay has, nor the support offered by USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative. But Foshay’s achievements nevertheless stand as a model of educational transformation. Are other schools, and more importantly is LAUSD, paying attention?

Jervey Tervalon is the director and founder of the Literature for Life project. His new novel is “Serving Monster.”

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    • FROM DEMOCRAT TO REPUBLICAN IN 30 SECONDS says:
      August 24, 2017 at 8:02 am
      IF AMERICA WAS TO GIVE MEXICANS HALF OF THE UNITED STATES FREE AND CLEAR THEY WOULD FRICK THAT UP IN 10 YEARS, AND IT WOULD BE WORST THAN THE MEXICO THAT THEY HAVE ALWAYS PLEDGED THEIR HEART FELT ALLEGIANCE TO WHILE CONTINUOUSLY RAPIDLY AND ILLEGALLY RUNNING TOWARDS THE AMERICAN BORDER. IF AMERICA WAS TO GIVE MEXICANS 50% OF AMERICA IT WOULD BE TRASHED AND OVER POPULATED IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS AND THE MEXICANS WOULD BE TRYING TO ILLEGAL BREAK INTO THE THE 50% OF AMERICA THAT THEY DIDN’T GET COME ON AMIGOS I KNOW MOST OF YOU AGREE! SO STOP JEALOUSLY BASHING BLACK COMMUNITIES WHILE WEARING OUR STYLES, TALKING LIKE US, AND ACTING LIKE US. IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT US DOWN PACKED YET THEN GIVE UP AND START DOING YOU! ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:
      February 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm
      you guys move to a prominent black community, and just because there is no elotae cart running through the school during school hours honking a loud bike horn you all get made because its not what you are used to back home in your third world country.
      it is a known fact, and you being a teacher should know this, most of you all come here and don’t even care if your child learns anything, because all you want to do is just develop a paper trail to show how long you have been here.
      the same people that you saw fighting were the same A students going to class. I remember Ms Stokes from fishy, and from manual arts, she would kick butt if you bothered her, and at the same time score higher than anyone on a test.
      that is called multi tasking. you guys always want to change everything to you cultures liking. yep….. I read between the lines of that authors writing and it appears that he was really upset that he was around so many WELL TO DO BLACK PEOPLE. the proof there was when he stated that he revisited the school in the later days and it was nicer!!!! (more illy gall aeleon looking). that was because he didn’t hardly see anymore black faces.
      I taught school for 10 years in LAUSD, and what made me quit was the fact that mexicans don’t come to school to learn, they think it is a social club. just look at the drop out rate. and (all cappppps).
      THAT AUTHOR IS LYIIIIIING WHEN HE SAID THAT THE SCORES WERE LOW PERFORMING BACK THEN. I KNOW THEY WERENT BECAUSE I WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE THERE, AND FOSHAY WON LOTS OF AWARDS FOR ACADEMICS, EXTRACURRICULAR, AND SPORTS AS WELL. AND OH YEAH…….. NO MATTER WHAT! YOU SEEM TO BE STILL TRYING TO SHINE THE LIGHT ON THE FALSEHOOD OF NEGATIVE PORTRAYAL AT FOSHAY JR HIGH SCHOOL. WAKE UP! PEOPLE SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR HIDDEN YELLOW JOURNALISM LIES. WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! AFTER AT LEAST 40 PEOPLE WROTE ON HEERE ABOUT HOW FOSHAY WAS A GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, YOU STILL SAID (IN YOUR OWN MEXICAN TONE) ” We cannot hide or deny what really occurred at Foshay during the mid to late 80s.” AND THE TOPIC WAS NOT EVEN ABOUT THE LATE 80′S AND YOU KNOW IT WASN’T! THIS GUY WAS EXPLAINING HIS HOME SICK FEELING OF NOT BEING SURROUNDED BY ELOTE CARTS AND CHOLOS, HE WAS TALKING ABOUT WHAT OCCURRED IN THE LATE 70″S THAT IS WHY ALL OF THE PEOPLE FROM THE FOSHAY DAYS OF THE “LATE 70′S ARE RESPONDING TO THIS ARTICLE, AND AS FOR THE LATE 80′S THE MEXICAN MAFIA HAS BY THEN EMPLOYED EVERY GANG IN THE UNITED STATES AT ALL OF THE SCHOOLS TO KILL BLACKS. DO YOUR HISTORY BUDDY. THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT LAH RAZAH!!!! WHATEVER YOU PEOPLE CAN’T CHANGE YOU TRY YOUR BEST TO DEFINITELY DESTROY JUST LOOK AT THE NEWS! BUT THOSE DAYS ARE OVER AMIGO. WE IN AMERICA HAVE RULES TO BE FOLLOWED. AND BY THE WAY…….. ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:
      February 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm
      you guys move to a prominent black community, and just because there is no elotae cart running through the school during school hours honking a loud bike horn you all get made because its not what you are used to back home in your third world country.
      it is a known fact, and you being a teacher should know this, most of you all come here and don’t even care if your child learns anything, because all you want to do is just develop a paper trail to show how long you have been here.
      the same people that you saw fighting were the same A students going to class. I remember Ms Stokes from fishy, and from manual arts, she would kick butt if you bothered her, and at the same time score higher than anyone on a test.
      that is called multi tasking. you guys always want to change everything to you cultures liking. yep….. I read between the lines of that authors writing and it appears that he was really upset that he was around so many WELL TO DO BLACK PEOPLE. the proof there was when he stated that he revisited the school in the later days and it was nicer!!!! (more illy gall aeleon looking). that was because he didn’t hardly see anymore black faces.
      I taught school for 10 years in LAUSD, and what made me quit was the fact that mexicans don’t come to school to learn, they think it is a social club. just look at the drop out rate. and (all cappppps).
      THAT AUTHOR IS LYIIIIIING WHEN HE SAID THAT THE SCORES WERE LOW PERFORMING BACK THEN. I KNOW THEY WERENT BECAUSE I WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE THERE, AND FOSHAY WON LOTS OF AWARDS FOR ACADEMICS, EXTRACURRICULAR, AND SPORTS AS WELL.

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  3. ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:

    INSTEAD OF TRYING TO PUT DOWN BLACK ENVIRONMENTS BY SAYING THAT THINGS ARE ALL BETTER NOW THAT THE ILLEGALS HAVE TAKEN OVER, YOU GUYS NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO KEEP TRUMP OUT OF OFFICE.

    ACTUALLY YOU GUYS ARE HANDING HIM THE CANDIDACY ON A PLATTER!!!!! BECAUSE

    1. ALMOST EVERY TEEN MEXICAN GIRL IS PREGNANT BEFOR THE 7TH GRADE
    2. ALMOST EVERY MEXICAN BOY IS IN A GANG BY 6TH GRADE
    3. THEY ALL DISRESPECT THEIR PARENTS
    4. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT THE TEACHERS
    5. AND YOU GUYS ARE TEACHING THEM TO SIT DOWN ON THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE!!!!

    I LAUGH AT PEOPLE WHEN THEY SAY THEY ILLEGAL ARE TAKING THEIR JOBS!!! I GREW UP IN THAT AREA AND I HAVE THREE GENERATIONS OF DOCTORS, LAWYERS, PSYCHIATRISTS, JUDGES TEACHERS, AND SHERIFFS IN MY FAMILY. WE DON’T THINK THAT YOU GUYS ARE TAKING OUR JOBS, BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE JOBS!!!!!! WE HAVE CAREERS, AND IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO OUR PROFESSIONS YOU HAVE TO GO TO SCHOOL FOR AT LEAST 8 YEARS. IF YOU DO THAT THEN YOU DESERVE MY POSITION.

    I LOVE EVERYONE, BUT I HATE BLAME PLACERS, SLACKERS, AND PEOPLE WHO FEEL ENTITLED.

    IT IS NOT THE BLACK PEOPLE THAT YOU ALL SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT, ITS YOUR OWN SELF DESTRUCTIVE PEOPLE THAT ARE CAUSING THEMSELVES PROBLEMS.

    AND THE WHITE MAN SEES IT ALL.

    • Leonardo Ruiz says:

      I believe your comments on “illegals” are a off. Mexican Americans have always been a part of Los Angeles, as we all know belonged to Mexico at first. The Black community didn’t migrate here until. The late 1800′s. But enough about “who’s here first”. The stereotypes of Mexicans you have are what everyone always had of the black community. I believe that instead of scapegoating eachother, we should both come together. The white man just wants all minorities to just blame eachother. I am recent graduate of Foshay where Latinos make up the majority (including people from Central America as well). The community is a diverse one. I see people of all colors and it is great how we are starting to live in harmony before the gentrification of South Central begins.

  4. ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:

    MR. RANDY YOU WOULD DO BETTER CRYING TO YOUR PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR PEOPLE. THE PROBLEM IS THAT ALL OF YOU ACTIVIST TYPES BLAME EVERYONE ELSE. THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS……. IN ORDER TO GET ALONG WITH OTHERS ONE MUST FIRST LOVE HIMSELF.

    MY SON IS 14 AND AN ABSOLUTE SCHOLAR, MY DAUGHTER IS 27 AND ALREADY A LAWYER, I WENT TO FOSHAY BACK THEN, AND ALMOST EVERYONE IN THE GRADUATING CLASS IS A PROFESSIONAL OF SOME SORT THESE DAYS.

    EVEN A LOT OF THE GANG MEMBERS, BECAUSE WE DONT GANG BANG FOR LIFE!!!!!! ITS NOT IN OUR CULTURE.

    FIX YOUR PEOPLE THEN THE SYSTEM WILL FIX IT SELF. LOOK AT WHOSE CAUSING ALL OF THE PROBLEMS IN SCHOOLS, JAILS, THE STREETS.

    • YOU GUYS ARE THE HOUSE GUEST THAT NEVER FRICKEN LEFT AND NOW YOU ARE COMPLAINING!IT IS A YEAR LATER AND WE HAVE ALL HAD THE CHANCE TO SEE THE REAL SUSPECTS HERE. YOU WROTE THIS ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM A SOME WHAT RACIST MEXICAN STANDPOINT ON THE PREMISE THAT BLACKS ARE A PROBLEM IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THE TRUTH IS THAT YOU PEOPLE COME TO THE COUNTRY, THE SCHOOLS, MIGRATE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, AND TRY TO MAKE EVERYTHING JUST LIKE IT WAS IN MEXICO. THAT IS NOT GOING TO WORK IN AMERICA!. AND AS SOON AS YOU FIND OUT THAT YOUR MESS IS NOT GOING TO FLY YOU CRY UNFAIRNESS AND SAY FOSHAY WAS A BAD PLACE BECAUSE THEY DON’T ACCEPT YOU. I REMEMBER FOSHAY WELL, AND IT ACCEPTED ALL WHO WANTED TO FOLLOW THE RULES. NOW LOOK IT IS YEARS LATER AND YOU ARE BURNING FLAGS AND BEATING UP PEOPLE AT POLITICAL PRESIDENTIAL RALLYS ALL IN THE NAME OF MEXICO. A COUNTRY IN TO WHICH ALL OF YOU ARE SCARED TO RETURN TO. ITS FUNNY HOW YOU MEXICANS ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO SHED A NEGATIVE LIGHT UPON BLACK AMERICANS AND YET THE SAME PEOPLE THAT YOU TRY TO DYE YOU HAIR LIKE AND FIT IN WITH NEVER LIKED YOU HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE LOL. JUST BE A LAW BIDING CITZEN OF AMERICA AND EVERYTHING WILL BE JUST FINE. FIRST GET OUT AND THEN COME BACK THE LEGAL WAY

  5. ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:

    you guys move to a prominent black community, and just because there is no elotae cart running through the school during school hours honking a loud bike horn you all get made because its not what you are used to back home in your third world country.

    it is a known fact, and you being a teacher should know this, most of you all come here and don’t even care if your child learns anything, because all you want to do is just develop a paper trail to show how long you have been here.

    the same people that you saw fighting were the same A students going to class. I remember Ms Stokes from fishy, and from manual arts, she would kick butt if you bothered her, and at the same time score higher than anyone on a test.

    that is called multi tasking. you guys always want to change everything to you cultures liking. yep….. I read between the lines of that authors writing and it appears that he was really upset that he was around so many WELL TO DO BLACK PEOPLE. the proof there was when he stated that he revisited the school in the later days and it was nicer!!!! (more illy gall aeleon looking). that was because he didn’t hardly see anymore black faces.

    I taught school for 10 years in LAUSD, and what made me quit was the fact that mexicans don’t come to school to learn, they think it is a social club. just look at the drop out rate. and (all cappppps).

    THAT AUTHOR IS LYIIIIIING WHEN HE SAID THAT THE SCORES WERE LOW PERFORMING BACK THEN. I KNOW THEY WERENT BECAUSE I WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE THERE, AND FOSHAY WON LOTS OF AWARDS FOR ACADEMICS, EXTRACURRICULAR, AND SPORTS AS WELL.

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  11. Brenda fuller smith says:

    I went to foshay middle school from 1972 to 73.. It was laid back in the 72. Just came out here from belize, it quite back in days. Our graduation was held at Loyola Marymount university. I went to foshay with prentice white.

  12. henry argueta says:

    i attended foshay from i966 and graduated in 1969. i have very fond memories.i still have some of my report cards. now i work at wilton pl. elementary school as a special ed. assistant. things were so much different in the 60′s.

  13. I graduated in 77′. Yes, there were fights. In fact, I was in two of them two days in a row. The first while protecting a friend and the very next day when the friend of the guy whose ass I kicked came looking for me. Gangs all over were on the rise. The Crips and the Brims. People were coming off campus causing trouble. I remember Mr. Larue starting a self-defense class in the room over the gym. In fact, I was there when a big fight broke out and he jumped in to break it up. Also at that time Mexicans were coming into the school. There was friction between Blacks and Mexicans. Yes, there were problems at that time. A lot of the “Billy Bad-Asses” are now dead or in jail. Some for life. That being said. I knew a lot of people and had 3 older brothers. And with that comes a level of protection. I can imagine life sucking for someone who was a loner. I had more problems from a teacher that didn’t like me because she hated my brother. Ms. Scrivens gave me an A-UUU-U. That’s right, she put 3 U’s in the same box on my report card. But even with these issues, which were not every day events, overall, I had a great time at Foshay. And I loved being in the band. Mr. Raven was something else. And we all thought Ms. Brown was hot!

  14. Donna Sly says:

    I attended Foshay in 1976 there was problems like in every school but we all choose our paths in life.Id like to take this time to thank one teacher in particular. Thank you Beverly Lewis you made me the woman I am today I think you saved my life.

  15. Donna Sly says:

    I attended Foshay in 1976 I remember one teacher in particular that was amazing I think that because of her Im the person I am today Thank You Beverly Lewis

  16. I am attened Foshay between ’86-’89 I am not sure what Foshay jr this article is making referance to. As a student there I had several teachers & various staff members that were fully involved with the eduction and well being of the students I persoanlly was a member of knights & ladies academic decathalon my parents were involved in the PTA. As a student I didnt feel i was in “danger” for my life i walked to & from school not wondering if the local gang would shoot. and as far as having an opportunity to transfer i knew several classmates that would transfer to mt vernon henry clay or horace mann and audbone was the oppotunity transfer school when you were kicked out. maybe the POV of the author of the article has their own negative experiences however it is unfair to give your reader FALSE information. & by the way prior to my attendance i had three older brothers that also attended Foshay Jr Hi between 75-83

    • Hi Chaundra, yes, I remember you. What a small world. I think that the author of the L.A. Times column is entitled to his opinion. I have met several writers/poets who attended Foshay and they tend to write about their traumatic experiences there. Some are still going through the “survivor” mode process. Many Latino/a immigrant students were bullied, picked on, and savagely beaten. I saw this with my own eyes and many of my friends were victims of hate crimes and gang attacks – while walking to and from school. Of course, this was hidden and never reported by the media since we were just seen as insignificant immigrants. However, I totally respect your point of view. Some were indeed lucky. Thank God for A Better Chance scholarship program – that safed many lives.

  17. I attended Foshey and yes it was a bad experience, It was sad and scarry to be there, it was the 80′s and yes teachers got beaten up, guns on campus, hispanic againts afro americans, nothing healthy for a13 year old to experience. You never knew what kind of day would you have!!!!

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  19. Patricia Parks says:

    I attended Foshay Junior high in the 80, it was not that bad. Yes there where fights and students who had discipline issues, but teacher still tried there best to impart knowledge to those who wanted it. Sometime i wish i had focus more and did not follow friends and i would have a better life right now. I had good grades in the beginning and then took the wrong path and so i fell behind. But i can only blame me for that. Even if you might not be in one of the best environment its up to you to make the difference. Glad to here about the changes and vast improvement.

  20. Hi young minds
    My name is Walter I attended foshay junior high School -
    In 1987 to 1988 , then I hade to moved from west LA To east LA. what I like to say about the past is that Back then there wore alot of opportunities for most People of difrent races and Cultures , I personally Think that back then there wore better chances of Making it big by making business or just working hard To make money. yes some people are luckier than Others well I personally think is because that was Good design to make a perfect world.
    Now just imagine if everything for all people was just Happiness , the life then be just plained boring no?
    Yes I know some times bad things happends and it looks like life is cruel , but the greatest thing good Gave us was and still is and that is choice.
    Now about foshay junior high I just like to say those 2 Years wore the best years of my life no mater what to Me it was, I did enjoy the food from the cafeteria my Pee Class & the late Runs to Class. some of my Teachers old jokes but the best part of my teen years Was my Friends.
    PS : to bad we only get to live it once
    And I personally think that our life is too short
    Our life is just one small point in this big Universe.
    Good by & good lk and keep dreaming of the past After All that is the only thing we will always have.

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  22. Dimitri DeNard says:

    I went to Foshay 76 77 78 and there were plenty of examples of what you should not do that’s for sure. These opinions simply illustrate what a profound effect some experiences can have on a persons outlook on life or perspective. My advice keep on living and you will keep on learning that negativity is totally necessary for positive outcomes.

  23. Dorsey T. Brown says:

    I witnessed my share of gang activities going on in jr. high as well BUT it was not a Foshay only thing. Reading the above article you would think Foshay was a war zone, which it wasn’t. As far as teachers being jumped on that is a none truth as well. We had staff members that demanded that you come to class, do your work and eventually graduate. My mother was a teacher in the LAUSD for 20+ years and she would not have allowed my older sister or me to attend the school this gentleman is talking about. Did we have gang members at Foshay???? Sure we did just like every church had gang members attending Sunday school…I can give you a roster of Foshay graduates who are successful today!!! Yes we had our issues but let’s not blemish the hard work of all the wonderful teachers who showed up daily unafraid to teach ‘their kids’ at least that’s how I saw it.
    Dorsey T. Brown BSW/BHT
    Foshay Jr.High ’79-81

    • Jervey Tervalon is sharing his experiences and points of views. The negative that he experienced but he now credits the positives of Foshay. We cannot hide or deny what really occurred at Foshay during the mid to late 80s. Some individuals experience was positive since they were not beaten or bullied but many students were and many were murdered in the surrounding communities. It is understandable to not want to see or admit the negatives. It is too painful to admit or recognize the injustices that occurred at Foshay – for too long. Praise the Lord that it is now a better school.

      • IF AMERICA WAS TO GIVE MEXICANS HALF OF THE UNITED STATES FREE AND CLEAR THEY WOULD FRICK THAT UP IN 10 YEARS, AND IT WOULD BE WORST THAN THE MEXICO THAT THEY HAVE ALWAYS PLEDGED THEIR HEART FELT ALLEGIANCE TO WHILE CONTINUOUSLY RAPIDLY AND ILLEGALLY RUNNING TOWARDS THE AMERICAN BORDER. IF AMERICA WAS TO GIVE MEXICANS 50% OF AMERICA IT WOULD BE TRASHED AND OVER POPULATED IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS AND THE MEXICANS WOULD BE TRYING TO ILLEGAL BREAK INTO THE THE 50% OF AMERICA THAT THEY DIDN’T GET COME ON AMIGOS I KNOW MOST OF YOU AGREE! SO STOP JEALOUSLY BASHING BLACK COMMUNITIES WHILE WEARING OUR STYLES, TALKING LIKE US, AND ACTING LIKE US. IF YOU HAVEN’T GOT US DOWN PACKED YET THEN GIVE UP AND START DOING YOU! ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:
        February 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm
        you guys move to a prominent black community, and just because there is no elotae cart running through the school during school hours honking a loud bike horn you all get made because its not what you are used to back home in your third world country.
        it is a known fact, and you being a teacher should know this, most of you all come here and don’t even care if your child learns anything, because all you want to do is just develop a paper trail to show how long you have been here.
        the same people that you saw fighting were the same A students going to class. I remember Ms Stokes from fishy, and from manual arts, she would kick butt if you bothered her, and at the same time score higher than anyone on a test.
        that is called multi tasking. you guys always want to change everything to you cultures liking. yep….. I read between the lines of that authors writing and it appears that he was really upset that he was around so many WELL TO DO BLACK PEOPLE. the proof there was when he stated that he revisited the school in the later days and it was nicer!!!! (more illy gall aeleon looking). that was because he didn’t hardly see anymore black faces.
        I taught school for 10 years in LAUSD, and what made me quit was the fact that mexicans don’t come to school to learn, they think it is a social club. just look at the drop out rate. and (all cappppps).
        THAT AUTHOR IS LYIIIIIING WHEN HE SAID THAT THE SCORES WERE LOW PERFORMING BACK THEN. I KNOW THEY WERENT BECAUSE I WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE THERE, AND FOSHAY WON LOTS OF AWARDS FOR ACADEMICS, EXTRACURRICULAR, AND SPORTS AS WELL. AND OH YEAH…….. NO MATTER WHAT! YOU SEEM TO BE STILL TRYING TO SHINE THE LIGHT ON THE FALSEHOOD OF NEGATIVE PORTRAYAL AT FOSHAY JR HIGH SCHOOL. WAKE UP! PEOPLE SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR HIDDEN YELLOW JOURNALISM LIES. WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! AFTER AT LEAST 40 PEOPLE WROTE ON HEERE ABOUT HOW FOSHAY WAS A GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, YOU STILL SAID (IN YOUR OWN MEXICAN TONE) ” We cannot hide or deny what really occurred at Foshay during the mid to late 80s.” AND THE TOPIC WAS NOT EVEN ABOUT THE LATE 80′S AND YOU KNOW IT WASN’T! THIS GUY WAS EXPLAINING HIS HOME SICK FEELING OF NOT BEING SURROUNDED BY ELOTE CARTS AND CHOLOS, HE WAS TALKING ABOUT WHAT OCCURRED IN THE LATE 70″S THAT IS WHY ALL OF THE PEOPLE FROM THE FOSHAY DAYS OF THE “LATE 70′S ARE RESPONDING TO THIS ARTICLE, AND AS FOR THE LATE 80′S THE MEXICAN MAFIA HAS BY THEN EMPLOYED EVERY GANG IN THE UNITED STATES AT ALL OF THE SCHOOLS TO KILL BLACKS. DO YOUR HISTORY BUDDY. THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT LAH RAZAH!!!! WHATEVER YOU PEOPLE CAN’T CHANGE YOU TRY YOUR BEST TO DEFINITELY DESTROY JUST LOOK AT THE NEWS! BUT THOSE DAYS ARE OVER AMIGO. WE IN AMERICA HAVE RULES TO BE FOLLOWED. AND BY THE WAY…….. ILLYGALL AELEON TRESH says:
        February 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm
        you guys move to a prominent black community, and just because there is no elotae cart running through the school during school hours honking a loud bike horn you all get made because its not what you are used to back home in your third world country.
        it is a known fact, and you being a teacher should know this, most of you all come here and don’t even care if your child learns anything, because all you want to do is just develop a paper trail to show how long you have been here.
        the same people that you saw fighting were the same A students going to class. I remember Ms Stokes from fishy, and from manual arts, she would kick butt if you bothered her, and at the same time score higher than anyone on a test.
        that is called multi tasking. you guys always want to change everything to you cultures liking. yep….. I read between the lines of that authors writing and it appears that he was really upset that he was around so many WELL TO DO BLACK PEOPLE. the proof there was when he stated that he revisited the school in the later days and it was nicer!!!! (more illy gall aeleon looking). that was because he didn’t hardly see anymore black faces.
        I taught school for 10 years in LAUSD, and what made me quit was the fact that mexicans don’t come to school to learn, they think it is a social club. just look at the drop out rate. and (all cappppps).
        THAT AUTHOR IS LYIIIIIING WHEN HE SAID THAT THE SCORES WERE LOW PERFORMING BACK THEN. I KNOW THEY WERENT BECAUSE I WAS THERE WHEN HE WAS SUPPOSE TO BE THERE, AND FOSHAY WON LOTS OF AWARDS FOR ACADEMICS, EXTRACURRICULAR, AND SPORTS AS WELL.

    • NO MATTER WHAT! YOU SEEM TO BE STILL TRYING TO SHINE THE LIGHT ON THE FALSEHOOD OF NEGATIVE PORTRAYAL AT FOSHAY JR HIGH SCHOOL. WAKE UP! PEOPLE SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR HIDDEN YELLOW JOURNALISM LIES. WE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! AFTER AT LEAST 40 PEOPLE WROTE ON HEERE ABOUT HOW FOSHAY WAS A GREAT LEARNING ENVIRONMENT, YOU STILL SAID (IN YOUR OWN MEXICAN TONE) ” We cannot hide or deny what really occurred at Foshay during the mid to late 80s.” AND THE TOPIC WAS NOT EVEN ABOUT THE LATE 80′S AND YOU KNOW IT WASN’T! THIS GUY WAS EXPLAINING HIS HOME SICK FEELING OF NOT BEING SURROUNDED BY ELOTE CARTS AND CHOLOS, HE WAS TALKING ABOUT WHAT OCCURRED IN THE LATE 70″S THAT IS WHY ALL OF THE PEOPLE FROM THE FOSHAY DAYS OF THE “LATE 70′S ARE RESPONDING TO THIS ARTICLE, AND AS FOR THE LATE 80′S THE MEXICAN MAFIA HAS BY THEN EMPLOYED EVERY GANG IN THE UNITED STATES AT ALL OF THE SCHOOLS TO KILL BLACKS. DO YOUR HISTORY BUDDY. THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT LAH RAZAH!!!! WHATEVER YOU PEOPLE CAN’T CHANGE YOU TRY YOUR BEST TO DEFINITELY DESTROY JUST LOOK AT THE NEWS! BUT THOSE DAYS ARE OVER AMIGO. WE IN AMERICA HAVE RULES TO BE FOLLOWED. AND BY THE WAY…….. We cannot hide or deny what really occurred at Foshay during the mid to late 80s.

  24. No, it is not about being afraid. It’s about telling the truth and setting the record straight. The 1980s were no walk in the park going to Foshay. Let us not pretend to be blind and continue to hide what really went on at Foshay 1980s. I know the dead cannot speak – but we who are living can tell their story.

    • I can relate to the author. I am African-American and I integrated a school in the South by myself in i963 Jefferson County KY without the national guard, without Dr. King, SNCC, or anyone other than a sympathetic Principal. You black students who attended Foshay in the 80′s saw gang violence, but you cannot understand how a new immigrant outsider would feel, I was the outsider in the South, attending an all white-school. I think if you open your mind to see what kind of hell that would be at 13, to be bullied for being different if you thought you escaped poverty and the threat of violence then you would understand. I was here during the gang violence and watched the amazing transformation of Foshay. I attend events there all the time. I am so very grateful for the hard work of everyone involved and still saddened by the generation that was lost to gang violence. May their souls rest in peace. Long live the peacemakers of Foshay.

  25. I attended Foshay in the 70′s & have the same view as Maureen. Even though I was on a course of my own the staff was alwa very encourging. This guy seems to be a person that might be scared of his own shadow.

  26. Maureen Stokes says:

    I don’t know that I totally agree with your premise, memory or overall generalization of Foshay Jr. High in the late 70′s. I am a product of that school, was a member of the government, ran for student body president (land ost), in the drill team, band (with Mr. Raven) and forged some rather significant accomplishments. Was it bad? You best. Being a member of a gang (then) meant you could fight and those things existed. For those that wanted to learn, the opportunities were plentiful. It shaped lives and those successes can be found all over South Central L.A. today! I walked to and from Foshay everyday and yes, encountered my share of unprovoked fights. However, adversity has an effect on you to become a success or failure. A victor or a victim. The teachers, guidance, friendships that I nurtured and sometimes ended are the reason I cannot concur with your story, but certainly why I am highly functioning and a successful product of James A. Foshay Jr. High School from 1977 to 1979 today!

    • I am talk about the mid to late 1980s. The gentleman who wrote the op-ed focuses on the 1970s. Yes, opportunities did exist – but only for a few. Let’s just say that I was “one of the lucky ones” since I was eventually accepted into the A Better Chance scholarship program and I left Los Angeles.

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