Friday, January 21, 2005

Homeless Guy Caught Attending High School?

OK, on certain days of the week I can be a real bleeding-heart, but this story seemed interesting to me. First, there's the "wish-more-of-our-homeless-wanted-to-go-back-to-school" thing; part of me gives the guy credit for sitting in classes, blending in, etc. instead of locking himself in the bathroom at McDonald's for hours at a time, or commandeering an entire bus stop for himself. Second, I wondered if this would have worked better if he would head for a major university campus instead, where there might be tens of thousands of people his age with whom he could blend (except that this must have been tried enough already for Universities to require ID cards for almost everything now). Third, this presents an interesting philosophical question about what "integration in society" really means. A man can be in the midst of a crowd, doing the same activities they do, attend class lectures, walk in the hallway between classes, use the gym locker room, dress like everybody else, and still be "off grid" or miles away from "belonging" there. I understand that he clearly didn't belong there, but he certainly was "integrated in society" in some meaningful sense of the word. The question is whether this would be a good thing to have for more homeless people do or an undesirable thing. He harmed no one. I'm biased, of course, because I'm an educator, but it seems that education might be a good pastime for those homeless who can handle it. No?

Francisco Serrano, 21, attended
classes and slept at a Minnesota
high school he used to attend.