As a former drug dealer became a teacher
Brennan Jacques teaches at the seventh and eighth grades in a public school in Trim Whitley County, New Orleans. And he has a very specific mission - children need to learn the truth about drugs before everything goes too far. Brennan says that if you are dealing with drugs, do not become successful millionaires. There are only two ways - in prison or the morgue.
But, as it turns out, there is a third way - in the mathematics teacher. Almost 8 years ago Jacques, now turned 30, was sentenced to a prison term for possession and distribution of cocaine. In this story it was supposed to end, but he pulled himself together and got on the road to reform.
Jacques knew this scenario, he watched it countless times while growing up in St. Thomas, New Orleans. Young people are the same as he fled from poverty and violence, being drawn into the world of drugs and weapons. Further, all as a blueprint: a prison or death in a shootout.
It was in his family. Of six children, he was the youngest - his two brothers and nephew were shot to death. Two other brothers, was imprisoned for a long period of violent crimes.
Jacques was trying to find himself in the sport, but even there, there was no guarantee that the drug will be a party. 28 boys who played football for the youth team, "Panthers" were killed during the 14 years. Dozens of others were selling drugs, the result - a prison.
Among them was Jacques. He was in prison at an early age and seemed to put a cross on his future. But life took an unexpected turn. 3 years after the release of Jacques I found a job as an assistant in a school math teacher and basketball coach. He has worked with children traumatized by violence, and those who are at risk of becoming victims of the same events that occurred in the life of Jacques. Jacques is well aware that few who falls a second chance, but because it is not going to miss. He hopes that his own story would be instructive tale for students and a source of inspiration.
"After going through all that had happened to me, I feel that I must repay to the world. Maybe this is my destiny. "
Every day at 8:30 am Jacques standing at the main entrance of the school and is waiting for the arrival of buses. After a few minutes of arriving students, and the head of Jacques slips thought: "Here they are." The children, from preschool children and students finishing eighth grade, fills the quiet corridors of laughter and chatter.
"Good morning, good morning everyone", - welcomes Jacques. The boys shake his hand or give the five girls embrace his or her head pressed to his shoulder. Jacques smiles every student.
Most of these children are growing just as he was growing up: the street shootout, domestic violence, bloodshed in the alleys and courtyards. He knows that because of this situation his disciples live in constant fear that every day diminishes the power of the spirit.
little research has been conducted in 2016, showed that of the 26 students in the class of 16 had witnessed the shooting, beating or stabbing, 15, suffered the murder of a loved one, and 10 have seen the murder of his own eyes. School was important to find a teacher like Jacques, who would be personally acquainted with the experiences of the students.
Jacques first took a part-time, but now he is a full member of the school community. He has his students a great emotional support and motivate them to develop. But not all children are easy to operate. Jacques spoke about his 14-year-old student who was wounded in the shootout and saw the shot of his best friend. Now the child injury - he gets angry and breaks at all. Jacques every day talking to the boy, trying to direct it in the right direction, but he did not listen. One student said that he wanted to drop everything and go sell drugs. A few weeks later, he did so, the school was not seen again.
Jacques was raised by a single mother. People in their neighborhood is very close-knit, but the society is rotten from the inside because of the poverty and crime. Jacques was only 7 years old when his older brother was shot because of the dice. At age 11, he became the first killing of a witness - Jacques was playing football with friends when the yard ran into two men, one chasing the other.
"He just ran away from him, but then tired to run, turned and shot him in the neck. We saw how the blood gushed out. "
That night, Jack was in the bathroom, turning over and over again in my head seen events.
"What if it was me? I tried to talk to my friends about it, but they laughed. Laugh at the situation was the easiest. We did not know how to properly react to it. "
Around the same time Jacques was first exposed to the drug. He and his friends were playing in the street when one of the local drug dealers ran across the yard from the police on the way he threw the convolution of the pockets. There was also marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Jacques and his friends did not know anything about the drugs they were children, but they learned quickly.
Brennan Jacques, central in the front row, in 1999
Jacques was playing in a local football team, was very determined, and no one expected that he would contact with the drug. Over time, he took up and selling them, and all that was before they reach adolescence. Almost all of his entourage were involved in various criminal schemes, including the brothers, so that this kind of activity seemed quite natural. Jacques did not take it seriously until he had a daughter - at the time he was in high school.
He realized that he needed to support his family, and the normal operation can not cover all expenses. First, the drugs were his part-time job, but a lot of money too beckoned, and soon it became his main activity.
"For a week I could easily earn $ 50 thousand and was not going to give up that kind of money."
Everything changed in 2009. In June, his brother was arrested as an accessory to murder - he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. At this point, Jack realized that I need to change my life, otherwise it will end badly. But nothing changed.
Two months later, to his apartment, federal agents knocked. They found nearly 750 grams of cocaine and 30 thousand dollars in cash. It was his first arrest - Jacques was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
3 months after the arrest, shot his nephew Jacques, he was only 19 years old. Jacques realized that he was lost. He could not become one of those steep drug dealers who retire young and rich. He was in prison when he was 22, and I felt terrible.
One showed Jacques cellmate photo daughter, who was then 5 years. The man, who was serving a life sentence, looked at the photo and gave it back. "I'll never go back home and do not see their children, - he said. - I'll never see them again. This life do you want? You're young, and you will have other opportunities. So what are you going to do? " Jacques understood that in his previous life, he did not know anything other than drugs. But now he realized that he has a daughter and he wants to be present in her life.
Before the release of Jacques rang a friend who worked as a manager in a restaurant and asked for help with employment. He agreed. By the way, Jacques still works part-time at a restaurant after school. And a former drug dealer went to university, where he studied mathematics. He graduated from University and received a diploma horoshist.
"I've never been stupid, but took stupid decisions."
After graduating from the University Jacques I applied to the school by the teacher's position, but it did not hope that it will take. But he went to work August 1, 2017.
Most all of Jacques glad his mother, because back in 2009, all four of her son, the survivors, were in prison. She threw a party in his honor.
Now Jack wants his example help the next generation. He knows that violence and crimes surrounding these children, do not determine their own destiny. He himself is an example.