Four Chicago teens charged in the beating death of 16-year-old Derrion Albert last month will appear in court this week.
Albert, an honors student at Fenger High School, was on his way home when prosecutors say he became caught in a dispute between members of two different Chicago neighborhoods — the neighborhood near the school, the “Ville” and Altgeld Gardens, a public housing project roughly five miles away.
Christina Greer, assistant professor of political science at Fordham University, said the root of the violence starts with environment, not the individuals.
“It’s an accumulation of a lack of resources in a lot of different areas,” Greer said of the communities near Fenger High. “I’m very hesitant to say this is some natural behavioral problem with black children. That isn’t the case.”
Greer said having two different neighborhoods attend one high school burdens under-resourced schools.
“It’s not enough to say these kids shouldn’t fight because they’re facing the same obstacles and they look like each other,” Greer said. “That’s only one one-hundredth of the problem. Let’s talk policy. Let’s talk changing institutions.”
Chicago police are still looking for additional suspects involved in Albert’s death.