Fourteen-year-old Mario lives … somewhere in Grand Rapids. He doesn’t want to be identified on the air.
He sits, dressed in a plain white t-shirt, khaki colored pants and white, low-top Chuck Taylor All-Stars. We’re in a sunny hallway at the downtown Grand Rapids campus of Grand Valley State University. Mario is here, attending a summer program from the Hispanic Center of West Michigan – a program meant to help keep kids on track academically while school is out.
Next year, Mario will be in the eighth grade, at a middle school in Grand Rapids.
I ask him if it's a pretty good school. "Kind of," he says. I ask him what isn't good about it. "There's too much gangs, stuff like that."