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This past Monday, Keith Beasley, assistant custodian at Coolidge High School in Brightwood, went out to cut his school’s grass. On Wednesday, he was still at it, dragging a 5-horsepower push mower across acres of overgrown clover, tall grains, and thick-stemmed chicory—growth reaching 4 feet tall in places. “It’s up to your head—well, your shoulders, the children’s heads,” says Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Pat Kidd, who is lobbying the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation for help with the yardwork. School custodians, Beasley says, are responsible for maintaining the grounds as well as the buildings. And although Coolidge employs seven janitors, it keeps only one working mower; three others sit, grime-covered and defunct, in a leaking storage room. It’s been that way since Beasley started working at Coolidge four years ago, he says. “It’s killing me,” says Beasley, surveying an unmowed playing field. “[But] you either do it or lose your job.” —John Metcalfe