Arrests Made in 6th St. Murder

Police have arrested four in the Saturday murder on 6th Street, and they’re exploring whether there’s a gang aspect to the killing, Stephanie Kassab and Brian McNeill write for the Progress. City and county police, along with the ATF, arrested three males and one female, all in their 20s, in a hotel on 29N. Four guns have been seized. Nineteen-year-old Joshua Anthony Magruder was found dead at 3 AM Saturday morning. Police say that Magruder was trying to escape a conflict between two groups at the spot; he was shot twice while running away. “Quite a few” people witnessed the murder. This is the third homicide of the year, which is a pretty high rate given that it’s only July.

Yesterday I drove by the scene, and it’s as Zoe Krylova photographed it: a retaining wall turned into a shrine, covered with chalked remembrances, stuffed animals, candles, and liquor bottles.

07/24 Update: Brian McNeill has many more details in today’s paper.

80 thoughts on “Arrests Made in 6th St. Murder”

  1. My wife and I walked from South Street Brewery to al Dente about a week and a half ago … roughly 7pm at night. As we got to the turn to do down to the Ix complex and the restaurant there, I said “let’s walk back now, get the car, and drive down here, so we aren’t walking around here after dark.”

    And I’m glad I did. Granted, we’d have been walking back at 9:30pm or so, not 3am, but still, I could tell this wasn’t an area I wanted to be walking around as darkness fell.


    BTW – great food at al Dente. Just drive there. Too bad, the neighborhoods looked nice enough, including large community gardens. But the groups of “young adults” huddled here and there just make you think twice about being alone down there. You try to convince yourself they are harmless, then you find out a kid got shot and killed right where you walked. Sorry to draw such stereotypical conclusions, but clearly I wasn’t completely off base. :(

  2. Typical that both the news stations did the standard interview with the friends of the deceased, who all expressed shock that such a fine young man would be caught up in something like that, and then the Progress interviews the Police Chief, who essentially says : “Of course he was in a gang, look at that thugged out shrine.”

  3. I love how Theo Timberlake had been charged and he got back at it again possibly.

  4. Stay classy Cville hoodrats.
    Hey, I have an empty Bourbon bottle at home.
    That would go nice with the vodka bottles.
    I see they’ve added some fresh Bud Ice bottles.
    I think some Thunderbird bottles would look better.
    I love the jailbird stuffed bear too.

  5. By the way, this shooting actually occured at 3AM on saturday morning (i.e., very late Friday night), NOT on sunday morning. I know because I bicycled past the scene on my way home that night.

    I was heading south on Sixth St. at about 3:30AM and saw dozens of flashing police lights, a taped-off intersection, and a lot of really upset people standing in the street. I had no idea what was going on, but even I could tell that it was a very emotional scene. I was tempted to ask someone what was happening, but the whole thing was so intense (the victim’s friends were crying, hugging each other, and screaming in frustration and rage) that I was pretty sure nobody really wanted to take the time to stop and explain what was happening to a nerdy white stranger. So I turned around and took a different route home.

    I biked past the same intersection on Saturday AM, and the memorial was already in place. I kept looking for some sort of info online about the incident, but the Hook, C-Ville, and Progress websites revealed nothing at the time. I’m glad to know what’s going on (and that arrests have been made), but it’s no less disturbing or sad.

    For the record, the person who commented as “James” above — the name I usually use to leave comments here — was not me. Additionally, I find all of the comments above (as well as chief Longo’s) quite insensitive and cruel. A young man, who was a member of our community, has been killed, and I can’t even begin to imagine how upsetting and difficult it is for his family and friends.

    The comments here belie a sickening attitude in response — dismissive comments about “hood rats,” reports of how unsafe the area was for people who can afford to eat in fancy restaurants — but not a word of mourning or consolation.

    Look, I currently ride from the old Ridge St. neighborhood, past Garrett Square (or “Friendship Court,” as it’s now called by absolutely nobody), and into Belmont several times a day, at all hours of the night, and I’ve never ONCE felt the slightest bit unsafe there. Keep in mind that I am a scrawny, young-looking, middle-class white boy with a weird haircut who wears neon pink t-shirts. And I’ve discovered the same thing is true in those neighborhoods that is true in every other neighborhood in the South — if you nod a friendly “hello” to total strangers on the street, they will do the same thing in response.

    Granted, I’m not a woman, so I’m not really the prime target for any catcalls (but my female friends all assure me that it’s actually much easier to get verbally harasses by car full of college students on the Corner). I used to walk down Dice St at 2am almost every night. I go through Westhaven weekly, and I know people who live and work there. These are not dangerous areas, especially when compared with any sort of crime statistics in a significantly-sized city. I know the only time some of you might hear about a neighborhood on the news is when someone has been shot, but the other 364 days out of the year, those places are still the homes, families, and communities of actual people.

    The people who live in the neighborhoods around 6th and Monticello are part of our community. They are part of Charlottesville just as much as the folks who have lavish rooftop penthouses only a few blocks away. It is our social responsibility as humans to empathize with their loss, and to understand and help to correct it’s causes.

    Joking about 40 bottles at the memorial, smirking at the supposed inevitability of the situation, and telling hushed cautionary tales about how “bad” the area is — I find all of these responses to be totally crass, useless, shameful, and inappropriate. In my opinion, gang activity happens in Charlottesville precisely because neighborhoods like Garrett Square and 10th&Page are neglected, dismissed, and feared by the rest of the city.

  6. Stay classy James Ford.
    Since I actually work on the mall and have to park in front of Friendship Court (even in the winter when its dark when I usually get to my car), that neighborhood is in no way “safe”. Cars get broken into/vandalized all the time on 6th & Garrett and my friend’s house now has bullet holes in it because of this little incident. Just because you feel safe does not mean it is. Just becasue you ride your bike past there everyday and don’t get mugged/attacked/beat down means nothing.
    I am sorry you were offended by my joke, but I was in no way referencing the victim in the situation. Just the lovely wall that sadly reflects our society and the people who think its appropriate to put liquor bottles at a memorial for someone who was 19 years old.

  7. Jeff, how are you in no way referencing the victim in the situation? You wrote, “Stay classy, Charlottesville hoodrats.”

    You were mocking the wall and the people who thought it was appropriate to memorialize a friend in that way. You weren’t saying it’s sad or regrettable — you were mocking it. Go back and read your own words. It’s pure mockery.

  8. So what if comments are insensitive, and pure’s the truth and it shows just what a bunch of low life’s we have living in our “community” as you like to call our world class city.

  9. Truth: The people who live in the neighborhoods around 6th and Monticello are part of our community. They are part of Charlottesville just as much as the folks who have lavish rooftop penthouses only a few blocks away. It is our social responsibility as humans to empathize with their loss, and to understand and help to correct it’s causes.

  10. If someone wants to mock, that’s fine insofar as it just shows the quality of the person mocking: what we had here was someone mocking and then denying that they were mocking (“no, I was just making sage and astute commentary on the sad state of our society” yada yada). If you’re going to mock poor people, at least have the courage to admit that’s what you’re doing.

  11. My point was simply to point out the idiocy of the tv news outlets solely presenting the opinion of acquaintances of the deceased as they report their by-the-numbers “friends shocked at violent death” story.
    While valid in broader context, you’d think they’d balance that perspective out with some mention of the possibility that the poor kid appeared to be involved in some unsavory stuff.

  12. Your right Cecil, i was mocking the wall.
    But explain how that is mocking the victom?
    And I did say that was sad…”sadly reflects our society and the people who think its appropriate to put liquor bottles at a memorial for someone who was 19 years old.”
    I guess I’m now courageous!
    What a travisshamockery!!

    p.s. who said they were poor?

  13. Here are some things to think about. Take it or leave it. I think everyone is making some good points. But I assure you no one on here will make much of a difference with this issue.
    Do you think it helps a community/culture to continue to perpetuate self stigmatization? How do we help people understand? Is it appropriate to say how one people “should grieve” or talk about it? Does it make since that children under the age of 21 are putting bottles of booze that they should not be able to purchase at a memorial of their deceased friend? Is anyone explaining this to them?
    I could tell you a lot more about this culture the “pouring one out for my dead homey” but I do not have to.
    The question remains.
    Will we continue to glorify material items, sex, and celebrity/cred more than integrity and community? Who will challenge this anywhere?

  14. James Ford,

    Let me explain that I believe that we are all, except in extreme cases of biological defect, born equal. That is, of equal potential to derive the benefits of education and nourishment, and deserving equal respect and acknowledgment from each other and our system of government.

    However, it is a fact that a child deprived of proper nourishment, physical or spiritual, will not grow to be the equal of her better cared-for natal peers.

    The people who were involved with this recent crime are not members of our community, “just as much as the folks who have lavish rooftop penthouses only a few blocks away”.

    The folks with the lavish rooftops are civilized.

    The kid who got shot and the kid who shot him are part of an uneducated, illiterate, violent lower-class, the result of generations of racial bigotry and social injustice.

    That these people were neglected by our system, in a world of abundant knowledge and material is shameful to the point of obscenity.

    They have been tragically wronged, but that does not make them my equal or yours, it makes them stupid and dangerous.

  15. DUG1138,

    Wrong. Guilty and innocent alike, they are in fact part of this community. They didn’t show up here from out of town. They’re kids from Charlottesville just as much as James Ford and I am (or I should say ‘were,’ since we’re both getting kinda old). Maybe your definition of ‘community’ is different from James’ or mine.

  16. It’s not the definition of “community”, Mr. Knee Jerk, it’s the definition of the expression “just as much as”, as in “equal to”.

    These people, as a result of their deprivation have become sociopaths.

    They are ignorant violent scum, and it’s a pity.

  17. Doug — Even if I agreed with you, that doesn’t mean that those people don’t live here. I see the folks who live in that neighborhood every day. Are you telling me every single one of them is a sociopath? How do you know that the victim and the perpetrator were both illiterate?

    And the folks who live in those penthouses? I see them a little less often. Maybe once or twice a year. As to your claims that they’re the ones who are “civilized” — in my experience it runs about 50/50, but perhaps that’s a matter of personal taste. They certainly are all rich, though.

    To get back to the topic directly at hand, the fact that someone in Charlottesville was murdered is a tragedy, whatever the circumstances. Calling the victim “scum” (as Doug and Jogger have just done) making fun of the memorial wall made to mourn him (as Jeff continues to do), and addressing the whole thing with a snide, openly dismissive, and sarcastically aloof tone (as the other James has done above), strikes me as willfully cruel, completely tactless, shockingly lacking in empathy, and having more than a little to do with class-based racism.

  18. To “Number One” (and Jeff) —

    If some beer bottles had been left at a memorial site for a 19-yr-old murder victim between 1981 and 1984, when the drinking age in Virginia was 19, would that have been OK? If so, would liquor bottles still have been unacceptable because the legal age for wine and liquor remained 21?

    I’ll tell you what. Next time I’m on my way to a funeral, I’ll bring you along so that you can let me know whether or not my actions and feelings are appropriate. After all, your personal taste is the ultimate arbiter of propriety in all cases of mourning, and I wouldn’t want to get it wrong.

    Or better yet, perhaps you should go and explain VA drinking laws to the victim’s friends and family. Please try to use the phrase “pouring one out for my dead homey” in scare-quotes while you are doing so. I’m sure you’d find a warm welcome and a receptive ear.

    As always, thanks for making “our” city the #1 place for rich people between 2004 and 2007!

  19. Did anyone catch Councilperson Holly Edwards on 29 News this week? She placed (at least part of) the blame for the killing on the Charlottesville School system. Can anybody explain this logic?

  20. DUG1138-
    You delude yourself if you think that the affluent are more “civilized”. I happen to live in a quite well off part of town where a high paid medical provider killed his wife several years ago and where a investment banker wearing a mask attempted to murder his wife a few years ago.
    Whether or not a young person comes from a background similar to mine I recognize the sorrow of his loss for his family and friends.

  21. Doug, what is it about Joshua Magruder, specifically, that makes (made) him “scum”? Think of this as Wikipedia—I’d like you to document any claims about him. For instance, if you call him “illiterate,” I’d like you to provide a reference for how you know that this boy was incapable of reading. I think that seems reasonable.

  22. James
    Umm you missed my point and my name…it is called irony…the rich made it 17th the natives made it #1 got it?
    Now”pouring one out for my dead homey” is something some of us know about bro and I can tell you I know more about this than I will ever post on this dumb blog. Re-read what I was asking as you filtered it all wrong.
    Think about how you can help all people not self stigmatize and think about why you might be so eager to protect it when I suspect you have not been very connected to the life that these children grow up in.

  23. Its amazing how persons stereotype and judge without knowing any facts. I grew up on sixth st. I also hang out over there. I know the boys charged and the one killed. The ignorance is those who comment on a situation that they know nothing about. It would take me all day to try to make you guys culturally competent to symbolism of the urban african american culture, so I choose not to have that battle. Think if you just lost a love one unexpectedly to violence, (which I may add can happen anywhere) you would morn the way you feel comfortable and know one elses acceptance is important. If any of you can name 5 successful Black men from C’ville that still lives in C’ville then we can talk. Sociology?

  24. Still once again the ? remains.
    Who is going to take the lead and educate the babies???
    How will this happen?
    When will the senseless violence stop?
    The question remains for us all. Yes there are 5 successful Black Men that are from here, and live here but how do we define success? That is the question? That is what needs to be changed.

  25. Ok, James first:

    What part of “I believe that we are all, except in extreme cases of biological defect, born equal” makes you want to call me “Racist”.

    and Waldo:

    When I said “the kid who got shot and the kid who shot him are part of an uneducated, illiterate, violent lower-class”, I had phrased my statement, as I am sure you now see, to avoid any specific claims, that would have been vulnerable to your critique.

    Also, it matters not if the poor kid “was incapable of reading”. The term “illiterate” can, and often does mean “lacking culture, especially in language and literature”, as I meant it just now.

    (it’s in the dictionary)

    I think you knew that though, so let’s stop being petty.

    The problem (of social decay) is more likely to be expediently solved if we dispense with pleasantries and start calling things what they are.

    That is, if I want to rid my lawn of dandelions, I’ll do better to purchase “weed” killer, than hunt for a solution that treats all flowers as though they were cultivated roses.

  26. Again, Doug, on what basis do you say that the murder victim was “illiterate” (“lacking culture, especially in language and literature”)? What is the source of your knowledge about this boy that tells you that he was in some way deficient? Are you reading some newspaper article about him that perhaps I’ve missed?

  27. Mr. Ford rather than ride your bicycle down 6th street by friendship court at 1,2,3 a.m. in the morning why don’t you start walking down 6th street at these times of the night, early morning on your way home. This way you would have more of a chance to get a really first hand look, and feel (as in mugged, assulted, robbed, maybe even shot at)for the scum bags that hang out on the streets in that neighborhood at that hour of the morning. I can only imagine how fast you must ride your bike by that area at night (if you really do and with proper traffic control you would probably even be cited for speeding on your bike).
    Your empathy and sympathy for these low lifes is misplaced.

  28. Today comes the news that Joshua Magruder graduated from CHS last year, had a young daughter, and was merely a bystander—he had nothing to do with the dispute or the shootings.

    Tell me, is Joshua still, in the view of Doug and “Jogger,” an “illiterate,” a “low life” and a “scum bag”? Hint: This is your chance to redeem yourself, both karmically and the in the eyes of others.

  29. Word on the street was that Joshua’s twin brother was a target and the job was botched out of mistaken identity.

  30. Whether the victim was an innocent bystander or was somehow involved is beside the point. He was murdered.
    On the other hand, why hasn’t there been more in the news about the 21 year old shot and possibly permanently paralyzed in a robbery/home invasion attempt at the Oxford Hill apartments? He was your classic innocent victim, attacked in his own home in broad daylight. Why no arrests- I am sure those lowlifes will strike again.
    Gangbangers and “hoodrats” are a danger to everyone, and especially to the people in their own communities who may not have the economic wherewithal to move out and remove their children from these influences. And lets face it, those children are the ones in the greatest danger from this element.

  31. 19 year CHS grad. Excellent. To be commended. By being a CHS grad we know he could probably order something off of a fast food menu. Young daughter. um! Doesn’t sound good. Possible recipe for disasber, welfare, etc. etc. Out at 3 a.m. hanging with the wrong crowd. Why was he not at home with his significant other and young daughter. Shows possible lack of responsibility, maturity on his part. Finally by being at the wrong place at the wrong time this young 19 year old was murdered. Draw your own conclusions. I already have mine.

  32. Oh, for Jupiter’s sake, Waldo! Find another drum to beat, will you?

    Invoking racism to instigate common sentiment among the crowd is passe.

    You’ll never grow up to be a real politician at this rate.

    Inciting fervor in today’s masses requires the mention of ecology.

  33. I taught at CHS recently, but I did not know Joshua. I do know a lot of Joshua’s friends though, and I also know that our city is awash in drugs and gangs and that Joshua, if he was doing the right thing, probably shouldn’t have been out on the street at 3:00 AM. One of the problems with today’s youth is that they have great difficulties making the right choices for a number of reasons, such as they have no father in their home to guide their actions. There are dozens and dozens of young men and women who graduate from CHS each year and have gotten absolutely nothing from our schools. Many of them have snubbed educational opportunities, frequently failing and/or underachieving on purpose to seem cool to their peers. Despite all of that, most are highly likable young people, which is how I imagine Joshua.

    A lot of young people have the strong feeling that school doesn’t have anything/won’t do anything for them. Maybe what Holly Edwards is referring to is the fact that our schools, by not adequately selling school and the positives that will ensue, are not meaningful to students. Of course, if we sell students on the idea that school is meaningful, then it probably ought to be meaningful….which it sadly is not.

    The path that led Joshua and others to be out with guns at 3:00 AM started shortly after birth and led through our city schools, the one place where our city (and most cities) could have an influence on the outcome. Our society (our city) has a lot of work to do to reach kids like Joshua. It will cost much less in the long run, emotionally and economically, to be honest about and do something about the difficulties faced by young children (particularly black children) in this city and across the nation. We can’t give kids parents but we can do more to make sure our schools are doing more. If you doubt the negative impact our schools have on the lives of our city’s children, I challenge any of you reading this blog to go and spend a day at CHS or Buford.

  34. It is not just the schools fault and Buford’s by any means. I know about that school it is also some bad parenting contributing there. There is also an underlying fear of the “race bomb” being dropped. This goes all the way to the top of the Administration.
    There is enough blame to go around here, when any young child finds it appropriate to carry a gun and shoot someone I think we all have failed. So enough with the race card, and enough with hate speak that is divisive and you will never change a persons mind that way. It is just these types of things that perpetuate ignorance and liberals and repubs are all to blame. We are people and we are not one color or the other, we have cultures that we can identify. Responsibility by all is what this takes and people need to extend a hand across the table to one another EQUALLY!

  35. I’m not blaming the schools, but I am saying that they are the one place where society has these kids as a captive audience for at least a few years…and the Charlottesville City Schools are far from what they could be for a lot of kids. Many kids, and I know them personally, get nothing from our schools. They leave with no skills, no direction, no idea what is supposed to happen next.

  36. Ok then fine. So what do they get from their community as well? I know some of these children too, I know this city, I know these parents I assure you there is enough blame to go around here. Lets just put less of our tax dollars in the schools if it is not working? That would work too right?
    So remember parents have the most influence, but these days it is televised images that have the power. We all need parents to do parenting. I have to do it on the street with some of these kids myself and I am not their dam parent.
    It takes parents and rethinking the old ways of looking at our communities to get out of this. Time to move forward and get out of our old anxiety ridden thinking habits. Extend a hand to one another and be mature instead of lobbing the same old tired arguments.

  37. A lot of these kids have one parent who is working two or three jobs. I think, at least until this social dynamic changes, that we need to get past thinking that parents can solve this.

  38. I’m with Cynic on the issue of parents: you hear all the complaints about how parents aren’t doing their jobs, lack of parenting is the problem, and my feeling is…yes, duh, that’s correct, but what are we going to do about it? For the long-term, certainly, there should be programs that encourage responsible parenting (and discourage early unpartnered pregnancy in the first place), but for the short-term, look for solutions other than expecting the parents to step it up. Too many parents just won’t/can’t/don’t do what they should do. I think that’s why Cynic talks about the schools — public schools are the one place where efforts can be made in a coherent and targeted manner to reach the kids who are sorely lacking guidance on the home front. If a kid has a lousy situation at home, it doesn’t help the rest of us to tsk-tsk the parent(s) and give up on the kid.

  39. Sure fine well then what do you propose? We already offer a lot in this city more than most of you know. Good luck with convincing Schools that they need to be parents now too. That is what we have been doing all over and it seems to be working well?
    I personally also blame TV and Corporations for selling all of us out at all levels. However I am not going to be able to convince TV to stop putting out the next 50 Cent Video am I? So the answer is what are you all prepared to do as a community to help parents and help parent your community?? What??
    Once again I say It takes parents and rethinking the old ways of looking at our communities to get out of this. Communities means all of us and of course that is what I was saying. It is not just parents it is all of us. We all fail if some man has a weapon and choses to shoot it at another man.

  40. The public school programs which work to change the culture of “at risk” children are very expensive. They involve very long school days, and around the year school. They do indeed, have schools provide poor children many of the supports and enrichment activities(known as ELOs in education jargon-“extra learning opportunities”) which middle class children get from their families. The KIPP schools are an example of this kind of program. The teachers in these programs have the dedication of saints and a 24/7 level of commitment to their students.

  41. One of the biggest problems in our schools is that we have kids exiting elementary school who don’t know how to read or are way behind. A requirement of becoming a reader is that you have somehow been able to feel pleasure from the experience of reading. Because of SOL and NCLB requirements, many kids will never be given the time to read for pleasure. Instead, they are pushed into “work” reading in order to master SOL content. Reading, for these kids, is hard and they won’t do it, especially given the allure of technological gizmos, which are pleasurable and provide immediate gratification.

    At an older age, as in high school, kids who should be learning a trade are forced to stay in the SOL track. Very few can get into a place like CATEC. Frequently, failing kids must double up on core classes in high school (e.g., taking two English credits during one year because you are behind), which only serves to turn them off further.

    Thus, many kids are graduating with no skills whatsoever. They are reading on a 4th or 5th grade level, can’t really write, can’t type very well, don’t have a work ethic, and don’t have a skill they can use to get anything more than a bagging job at Kroger. Many of these kids, as I mentioned already, receive very little guidance from schools. Almost all of their guidance comes from other sources.

    Finally, I would like to add that other systems have elementary schools that go K-5 or K-6. We go K-4 despite the fact that there is a ton of evidence that kids benefit from having a longer elementary experience. Kids in K-6 elementary schools have higher test scores, there is more parental involvement, etc…

    We could also try uniforms and single-sex schooling.

    In short, there is a lot we could do if we had a school board that was worth a crap. We don’t, sadly, except for a couple of newcomers.

  42. Cynic has given some good insight into our public school
    system. This is a fair description of the school system we as
    taxpayers contribute over $75M per year, with annual teacher
    salaries, city of Charlottesville, averaging over $52K per
    year. The school system has been and is no longer about the
    welfare of the children, teaching, or learning, it’s all
    about MONEY for teacher salaries, and their benefits
    (memberships in local athletic clubs, retirement, time off,
    teaching duties, etc. etc.). Teach to achieve good test scores and to and to hell with everything else. The Charlottesville City
    School Board is a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Okay, now I have to chime in.

    As a teacher in the city schools, I am of course offended by Jogger’s characterization of our priorities. The welfare and development of the children in my charge is absolutely my primary concern. The vast majority of my colleagues chose to teach for the same reason I did–we love and see the vast potential in children/adolescents, and want to help them find their way in this increasingly complex and confusing world.

    I realize Jogger’s criticism of the city schools is targeted largely at the school board, and I leave that for others to evaluate. I do think the current school board is infinitely more aware of reality than boards in the past. One of those realities is that of supply and demand; in order to keep teachers you must be competitive with other school divisions with salary and benefits. Another reality is that the ludicrous, unfunded No Child Left Behind mandate is driving much of what schools do these days. We are teaching the test, not the child, and we hate that.

    Jogger, do you have school-age children, or have you been in a public school lately? We could use more caring, concerned adults working with our children–many of whom are in desperate need of such–and in my opinion, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

  44. CvilleTchr, just a warning — there’s not a lot of point in engaging in dialogue with Jogger. You’ll see what I mean shortly.

    I think most posters to this blog realize that most public school teachers have the right priorities and do the best they can. I don’t know many people who really do envy you guys — teaching in the public schools looks really challenging from where I sit. My child has so far had good experiences at his elementary school, and I’m very aware that we’re lucky in that regard.

  45. Schools are a reflection of their society. If communities and parents do not regard education as important then neither will the students. Unfortunate, but true.
    I grew up in a rural Va, county in the 50s and 60s and our dropout rate was phenomenal . My high school ran grades 8-12. I started 8th grade with close to 90 classmates. My graduating class numbered 36, almost a two-thirds attrition rate.
    Many of my classmates came from families with little education, in some cases none, and thought it was perfectly normal for children to leave school as soon as they were able to work,usually at farm labor or other manual jobs. Girls would drop out and get married in their teens.
    Teachers would lecture about the importance of learning, but family pressures and influences were often stronger.
    Granted, some families with little education wanted their children to have more, but it was not an easy path.
    I suspect what I have described is true of parts of our community. If hopes and aspirations of youth are low, where is the motivation to excel in the academic world and go on to a professional career.
    I substitute taught in the city schools, mainly CHS, in the 70s. The same situation people are discussing now was true then.
    I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that the average classroom teacher is doing the best he or she can under the circumstances.
    And simple solutions like single sex education or school uniforms are not the magic answer some seem to think. Its going to have to start in the home,where high value is placed on education, and love of books and learning becomes a central part of each child’s life.
    As it is, the schools are often in the situation described by the old adage,” you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

  46. A city councilor once said something to me that struck a chord, something to the effect: Those kids who are highly successful in our schools frequently head off for other places while those who fail are ours for life. We must own up to this fact.

    Someone else said to me once something to the effect: when something is free it has no value to some people.

    I’m not saying that we make education cost money, but there has to be some level of commitment from parents and the community, such as having to come in to the school when your kid does the wrong thing at school or shadowing your kid for a day as a consequence of telling a teacher to “f*ck off.”

    Also, in regards to the lead a horse to water analogy, I agree, except that we can do so much more to make the water more appealing to the horse than we are doing now. Right now, we are leading the horse to a befouled, stagnant pool. In many ways, though I know that education would help many students, I don’t honestly blame some of them for turning off.

    While I know from experience that almost all teachers are in education for the right reason and are trying really hard in a nearly impossible situation, some have burned out from years of butting their heads against the wall. In addition, many teachers, who would probably be excellent teachers in the long run, leave after a year or two because the job is so difficult.

    The thing is this: the CCS system is so small that it is a crime that it is not better than it is. This is not DC or Detroit. This is a small town with a lot of highly educated, caring people.

    One last thing: I know from two different people at UVA that the university has approached CCS at least twice in the past few years with programs that would assist the city schools. The university was essentially presenting partnerships-type relationships. On both occasions the city schools pulled out. Why? Who knows. One woman, who I know pretty well and who was personally in contact with Gertrude Ivory, was flabbergasted. There could be other instances
    of this that I don’t know about.

    In my opinion, our central office and our school board should be ashamed of themselves.

  47. Cvilletehr and Cecil you need to go back and read all of
    Cynic’s comments and you will get a good idea where I am
    coming from. Teacher salaries are way out of line with
    the results we are getting as you will see if you read
    Cynic’s comments.
    You show your lack of dedication, knowledge, skills and
    abilities when you infer that in order to keep teachers
    we need to remain comeptitive with other locals in salaries
    and benefits. Sounds to me like you are remaining in the
    teaching profession just for the huge salary and benefits.
    The teachers like yourself need to be weeded out. Teachers who
    coast through just for the salary and benefits are a large
    part of the problem in our public school system. Education
    takes place in the cranium not the pocket book.

  48. Jogger, that’s not what I’m saying at all, and the results we are getting have very little to do with teachers. The results we are getting involve bigger problems beyond a teacher’s control, such as our current school structuring (K-4, 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12), moving kids too quickly from learning to read to reading to learn, a lack of relevant opportunities at the high school, and not enough guidance for what comes next in the lives of these kids.

  49. I really don’t understand what the school system has to do with the murder. I didn’t hear anyone criticizing Western Albemare for the kids in the I-64 shootings. The city schools provide an opportunity of an education that is second to none. There is always a focus on the short comings of CHS instead of all the successes at that school. If you would have attended this year’s graduation, you would have seen some students that have accomplished some amazing things. I have two children at CHS and they really get hurt when others stereotype them like this.

  50. Thank you, John, for saying exactly what I was thinking about our school system. And thanks also to Cynic, for the apt warning about engaging in discourse with people who already know it all.

  51. I was tempted to set Jogger straight on his misreading of Cynic, but it’s much better from the horse’s mouth… Thanks, Cynic.

    Oh, and about teacher’s salaries being “way out of line with the results we are getting”: that sure isn’t the case with the teachers who teach my chldren. So I guess maybe these teacher should get more $$. And then what? Cut the salaries for teachers who’s students aren’t making the grade…and set up a tent city where they can live? (Help me, Jogger.)

    On a positive note, if you throw out the high and low comments in this thread (eg, most of Jogger & Waldo’s knee-jerk play with the race card), there are some interesting comments here: everybody I talk to seems certain that the Walker/Buford arrangement makes no sense pedagogically, but people have said that for year, but we lack the leadership to address this 20-year-old mistake. (Please note that the previous comment is NOT directed so much at our superintendent as at leaders throughout the city–past and present members of the School Board, the City Council, and the Democratic Party.)

    It’s hard to find another school division in America with 5-6 and 7-8 schools…that alone might tell us that this arrangement is not best practice. Why aren’t we talking publicly about resolving this?

    While I concur with much of what Cynic says, I sure don’t see a “befouled, stagnant pool” of education in the Charlottesville City Schools for my daughters. I see many great teachers all over the place. Why do our schools work for some kids and not for others? The answer IMHO involves support and expectations. Kids can’t be raised by institutions, no matter how caring or well-designed those institutions might be. They need adults in their lives with high expectations for their future–school administrators, teachers, coaches, and most especially, parents, relatives, neighbors.

    We sure won’t change a thing in Charlottesville (or Detroit) by railing against teachers in general, or denouncing kids who haven’t had the support that any child would need to be successful. And we won’t be addressing the problem comprehensively until we can talk about it honestly as a community.

  52. Please note that their is a lot of mean-spirited comments re: the Magruder murder that I would throw out…I jumped in more focussed on the subject of education…

  53. There is a cultural aspect here which is usually missed by people who come from families where everyone has had a college education for several generations. There is a real gap between the first generation to achieve a college education and their families.People fear losing their children and friends to another world. This is true in small town/rural white America and I expect it is true in urban black America. We need to find ways to help parents/communities support their children and not fear that gap which education creates.

  54. You also need to address substance addiction. This is something that we shame way too much and no one ever mentions. Treatment for people needs to be a priority, along with counseling and support for parents. It is an approach that can work but everyone involved has to come to the table. I am not so sure we are as forward thinking in our approach as we like to think we are in this city.

  55. John,

    The reason schools came into this discussion is that cvilletchr wondered if anyone had any insight into why Holly Edwards would place some of the blame on our schools. I was simply giving my two cents.

    You do bring to light something that was not mentioned previously, but which Karl mentions, and which is really the whole point of what I am trying to say here. CHS, and to a certain degree Buford and Walker, is really two schools…one for those who are high achieving and are likely to leave C-ville eventually, and another for those who are low and/or underachieving and will be staying around town for the duration.

    Our central office, our school board, and our superintendent are fond of discussing all the great things that the achieving group is doing while, in my opinion from having taught there, the low achieving group flounders in a stagnating pool.

    I’m sure your kids are doing great and Karl’s kids are doing great, but kids like Joshua Magruder aren’t faring as well.

  56. Why do Waldo and I have to be slammed for our comments? I was
    under the impression that this was an open forum/blog.
    Karl stop being such and apologist. If you have an opinion
    express it and stop trying to so politically correct.
    IMHO the two biggest influences on kids are their peer group
    and the school sytem. Both are failing miserably.

  57. I’m an apologist for the school division? (That’s a new one.) Or an apologist for teachers? (Guilty as charged.) I really hate to hear teachers slammed as a group. At every school in Charlottesville where I have spent some time (Burnley Moran, Walker, Buford, CHS) I had repeatedly run into teachers who go way beyond the call of duty: driving, feeding, tutoring, sheltering kids; organizing clothing and furniture collections for school families; acting as big brother, big sister; court, educational, or financial advisor; a mentor to parents, etc. If we as citizens were to demand that our teachers reveal all of these sorts of extracurricular activities I suspect many of us would be amazed and (I like to hope) far less inclined to complain about their modest salary increases.

    Are there lousy teachers? Sure. But don’t blame teachers for that. It’s the administrators who hire and fire.

    Don’t get me wrong: our schools in the city could much better serve the needs of all kids. But if anyone is to blame for this, it’s the leaders (and us citizens who elect the policy-makers), not teachers.

    No Child Left Behind has put the focus solely on schools and teachers. But honestly, we have to get beyond that if we hope to see real change. If the issues are gangs, drugs, lack of motivation, etc. don’t look to the schools to solve them. We need more focus on family and community. (See Rick Turner’s piece on the op-ed page of last Sunday’s Daily Progress–couldn’t find a link, sorry.)

  58. Wow! As a former teacher and recovering avid observer of the Charlottesville school board, it has been a long time since I agreed whole heartedly with Karl Ackerman!

    Charlottesville has always been a bi-modal city, and sadly it is only when the realities of the underclass bubble up and affect the lives of the privileged that we pay more than lip service to their needs.

    Whatever you may say about Josh Magruder, as far as I know, none of you knew him. I did. I was one of the teachers who worked with him. Maybe I was a failure of a teacher who was just collecting my bloated paycheck, since, after all, we know how his story ended. That, of course, would deny me a level of my humanity. Josh’s has already been denied by many of the posters here. I suppose it is much easier on all of us to attribute his death to something outside of our control.

  59. Karl, I don’t think you will find any one teacher doing
    the things you have described. Most if not all are done by the
    the VT, case worker/social worker. The classroom
    teacher has very little to do with most of the things you speak
    As far as salary goes…modest is not the term to use when
    describing a 5-7% yearly increase to an already bloated
    salary. Do the math…..The majority of the city school budget
    is devoted to salaries and benefits….I think if people really
    knew and followed where the money is going they would be very
    much “inclined to complain!!”
    Former teacher, Josh’s death was not under my control or yours,
    but under his control. If he had been home being a good parent
    to the child he helped create this may have been avoided.
    I hate to see these things happen as much as the next person,
    but in many cases these things could have been avoided by just
    altering the individuals behavior just a little bit.
    just my .02.

  60. All school divisions put the vast majority of their budgets into salaries and benefits.

    A 5-7% raise each year hardly seems bloated to me, especially given the alarming increase we have experienced in the cost of basic living expenses over the past 18 months.

    When I left teaching, I got a $15,000 pay raise, and received demonstrably better retirement, health insurance and vacation and leave policies.

  61. AFAIK there has been no motive put forward for this murder.

    Yet everyone here is speculating on the “cause”.

    Uhhh, it says he was “trying to escape a conflict between two groups” and it seems obvious that he was shot during his attempt to flee.

    If I were to speculate, I’d say that someone was eliminating a witness. The cause? Someone wanted to stay out of jail. Makes sense to me. Although who knows… The police have not mentioned motive.

    Could it be that simple? Perhaps people have free will and society doesn’t dictate their firearm-discharge-resulting-in-death actions?

    Every murder happens for a reason… Because someone wants something. Not because of their education or what music they listen to or their family upbringing. I’m sure I could find you 100,000 children who have the exact same societal/family/school situation who have never harmed anyone.

  62. The “fact” that every murder (and any other problem within our society) may happen for a reason doesn’t negate society’s obligation to do something about it, especially if it is the case that elements of our society are not doing the best they can do to decrease the chances of such events. The recent death of a woman in a New York hospital is a case in point (http: She was on the floor for an hour and nobody came to her assistance. Clearly, the education/instructions provided to the hospital staff need to be amended such that they perform differently in the future. It’s the same thing with our educational system. If it’s clearly failing to meet the needs of a significant chunk of our students, then something should be changed.

  63. Another shooting last night. Isn’t it past time that we face the fact that our town is awash with WAY too many guns??

  64. Good luck with that one Gail.
    Your town is awash with way too many drugs. Always has been since I was a kid here.

  65. On the other hand, Jayne McGowan might have benefited from a gun when Gentry and Pritchett came to rob and murder her. The problem isn’t the guns. The problem is the criminals.

  66. And awash with too many hoodlums. And its been that way for a long time. And our bleedingheart city government shares a lot of the blame.
    Rudy Giuliani, since you won’t be President, looking for another city to clean up? Like Marshal Earp riding into Dodge.

  67. Look, if everybody is going to have a gun or know someone who does maybe we need a gun curriculum.
    I think we should, as a society, treat guns as a public health risk and, if we can’t get rid of them, make sure people understand the risks and are properly trained.
    About the McGowan tragedy- surely even most gun owners don’t open the door carrying a gun?
    I recognize that well trained individuals are sometimes able to lower a body count or prevent a crime by using a gun. But we live in a world where gun access to criminals is much too easy. And don’t get me started on gun suicide risks in gun owning households, gun accidents, or domestic incidents which become murders because of gun availability.

  68. You are more likely to kill yourself with 31000 suicides a year then to be killed at around 15000 which has not changed much in many years despite population growth in the US.
    Guns have a lot of power and I can tell you I will not own a handgun b/c I understand and have felt the basic primitive human feeling when holding a hand gun. It is a powerful feeling that people with poor impulse control need to be aware of.
    So in fact guns help people kill people, especially handguns. A stupid, old talking point.

  69. I don’t really see why we let this thread morph into the gun control debate. There are many gun laws on the books already-yet hoodlums and gang members are going to be armed. They don’t follow the rules. Banning something does not get rid of it-we should have learned that from Prohibition, not to mention the War on Drugs.
    Statistics about gun deaths have to be taken with a grain of salt. There are some that show gun accidents have declined in recent years.
    Anti-gun proponents often bring up the suicide issue. Aside from the fact that someone determined will find some way, gun or no gun, I’d like to present another viewpoint, one that will likely raise some hackles.
    I do not subscribe to the suicide-is-always bad point of view. People should have the right to check out of the mortal realm if they feel that is the only choice,painful, hopeless terminal disease,incapacity to live one’s life in a meaningful way(and that includes lying hooked up to tubes in a nursing home),facing criminal charges that will bring disgrace to all involved,that sort of thing.
    There are the theological arguments against it. But some of us do not believe in those doctrines. And our nation is not a theocracy is it?
    Just as I support a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy for reasons valid to her,I support an individual’s right to sever connection with this mortal coil. On the other hand, I have trouble with euthanasia,others being involved. Too easy for abuse to occur,”lets knock off grandpa so we can inherit sooner.” For then there are gray areas, like the Terry Schiavo case. Good argument for a living will and advanced directive orders for medical issues.
    As for the original topic of the thread-longterm and short-term efforts both needed. Like getting at=risk kids headed in the right direction early so they dont succumb to the street life,long-term. And remove anti-social elements from society through stepped-up law enforcement efforts . And yes, this will cost money, for teachers,social workers, police officers and so on.

  70. Guns are not the problem, schools are not the problem. The culture of
    the underclass is the problem, primarily parenting or lack thereof. It
    is no secret that fathers have been long absent in the underclass, but when the crack epidemic hit, mothers too began being absent with the state stepping in many times to try to clean up the mess. Charlottesville has one of the highest poverty rates in the state and I believe the highest fostering rate in the state, worse than Richmond or Norfolk! A lot of this is due to our City creating a huge welfare collective. Only recently has the county seen fit to accept their share and they are suffering for it at Mallside, Wilton Farm, etc. This is not to say all such residents are trouble, but it is a fact that inner city underclass culture is bankrupt and no further programs or solutions from well meaning elitists will be able to repair the problem. The solution must
    begin with renewed emphasis on parenting, input from local clergy to
    address the culture rather than railing against injustices, and emphasis
    on education rather than easy money. It would be interesting to note
    what Martin Luther King would have to say about this state of affairs.

  71. I’m with you jeeperman, but let’s keep the clergy out of it. Trying to get kids to behave morally by telling them to believe fairy-tails and obvious nonsense is not going to work anymore. Organized religion and its associated irrationality is finally starting to lose it’s grip on the mind of the average US citizen, and it’s about time.

    I suggest giving these kids educated roll-models. Introduce them to people who have “made it”, in terms of achieving self directed life goals through pursuing higher education. Show them that knowledge is power and learning is adventure.

    Also, I’m really digging that agriculture project someone’s got going in Garrett Square. That seems like a very positive sort of activity with the potential for all kinds of good results.

  72. “Look, if everybody is going to have a gun or know someone who does maybe we need a gun curriculum.”

    The NRA offers one. I suggest you go take it and follow your own advice.

    “I think we should, as a society, treat guns as a public health risk…”

    Guns a public health risk? Are you serious? DOCTORS kill more people each year than guns do. As do swimming pools and automobiles and hamburgers.

    If you really want to ban something for public health reasons, ban cholesterol. Public health enemy number one.

    “and, if we can’t get rid of them, make sure people understand the risks and are properly trained.”

    I’m pretty sure most people realize that guns carry a risk of death. In fact in this case I think that was the intended outcome.

    You want to get rid of guns? I guess we’d need a law for that or something. Maybe we should pass a law against MURDER too. Why didn’t anyone think of that before!?!?!?

    “surely even most gun owners don’t open the door carrying a gun?”

    I don’t know about “most gun owners” but I know I do, and were you to invite me to your house I’d knock on your door carrying one as well.

    How is that hard to believe? I carry one in the grocery store, in my car, at the bank, at the movie theater, everywhere except where prohibited by law. Which, of course, are the places where most spree shootings happen… Because criminals know that citizens are not armed in those places.

    “And don’t get me started on gun suicide risks in gun owning households, gun accidents, or domestic incidents which become murders because of gun availability.”

    What about hanging suicide risks in rope owning households, car accidents, or domestic incidents which become murders because of kitchen knife availability?

  73. Yep, look at what that nut did in Canada with a hunting knife. And DUG, you may be right about the clergy I’ve seen around here. There may be a few decent ones though that might take the time to step in and do some good rather than keep the victimization game going.

  74. CCP
    I think you have those NRA talking points down don’t ya?
    But your missing the one key point to all this. When there is the basic primitive thing called human emotion being tied in with the ability to kill instantaniously. As we all know that impulse is hard to control. That is why the mentally ill are not allowed to possess hand guns, which I know the NRA is also for. It is obvious with you that the power of the “gun” has made you passionate about guns. But why? I hope nothing traumatic has ever happened to you, I suspect like most gun fanatics it has not. I assure you it has with me and I only own a rifle and a shotgun but never a handgun. I also have training and I know how to use it. But kids with guns and negative images all around them is one hell of a hard impulse to control when you are already impulsive and adolescent.

  75. The problem, for me, with more guns is that more guns won’t prevent the murder of Joshua at 3:00 AM. More guns as the solution to violence is a very poor band aid, something that happens after the wound, so to speak, is already there and festering. What we need to do is prevent the wound, which is why education (wherever it can happen) is required. It just so happens that the one place we have these kids in a room, where such education can happen, is at school. The problem currently is that the education they are receiving at school isn’t good enough. Helping kids like Joshua to be better prepared for life just isn’t the priority.

  76. HollowBoy-
    I introduced the issue of guns because I believe that too many guns are a factor in the recent violence in Charlottesville.

    The problem of local violence does not have a single cause -it is a complicated issue which has components of inadequate parenting, lack of fathers in homes, educational deficits, pressures of poverty aggravated by challenging economic times, a negative peer culture, and way too many guns.

    Just like everyone else on this issue, I tend to focus more on certain aspects of the problem. And it has been my experience,that the need for gun control in our society goes way beyond the issues in poor urban areas.

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