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At Hart Middle School, the eight-graders went through their graduation rehearsal today. The rest of the day was spent on fighting and just hanging out. A bunch of cops—more than a half dozen—were stationed a half block away. Earlier today, there had been a huge off-campus fight.

When I asked the cops about the ruckus, they just muttered something about gangs as if it were the most boring subject in the world.

By 1 p.m., a few kids chose to kill the rest of the afternoon by sitting on Hart’s front steps. Best putdown overheard: “You are the dumbest kid that’s graduating.” The kid didn’t have much of a response. He actually seemed to agree with his friend’s assessment.