What Makes This School Work?

Malcolm X Elementary has everything going against it -- except the commitment that may be changing students' lives. Or even saving them.

MALCOLM X ELEMENTARY School is in the heart of Washington's seventh police district. It is known to some officers as "the jungle," because, as one black patrolman observes, "it's all about survival here." Across the street from the school is a graveyard, its iron fence mangled where a sixth-grader crashed a car he had hot-wired. Near an outside corner of the school is "the penthouse," where at night, under a mural of the U.S. flag and the words WE WANT A DRUG-FREE AMERICA, the crackhead prostitutes of Alabama Avenue sell themselves for $2 or $3. Every morning the school custodians splash...

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