Six Juniors in Todd Manninen’s Minorities class went and visited the Minneapolis halfway house one night after school as part of a final project for the class.
Eddie Clifton, Tyrah Whistler, Ali Melgard, Adam Hartung, Delaney Alexander, and Aaron Rouse went to the halfway house on their own because they were so inspired by the speaker who came into their class that day, Sarah Walker. Without telling Manninen, the students packed into one car and headed to Minneapolis to work on their project.
“Sarah Walker, the chief operator at the half-way house came and spoke to our class and gave us a presentation about what the half-way house was and told us about who lived there,” said Junior Delaney Alexander. “The five of us were really interested in this place, and we wanted to go and visit it the next day.”
The half-way house, also known as 180degrees, is a program that focuses on the needs of men that just got out of prison and are ready to reenter the community. 180degrees provides short-term housing for the individuals and helps them get back on their feet.
“They are really strict there,” Said Junior Eddie Clifton. “The people living at the half-way house had to write down all their plans for each day, like if they were going to target, they would have to report that.”
Strict seemed to be the same word all the students used describing the half-way house.
“The people had to call in every two hours and report where they were,” said Junior Tyrah Whistler. “Some had like a GPS thing on them, that showed where they were all of the time.”
“They are on such a short leash,” said Alexander. “They are clocked down to every minute.”
Since the students were visiting a facility full of convicted murderers, rapists, and other criminals, they were limited from getting the full tour.
“The students weren’t 18,” said Manninen, “so they couldn’t get the full tour. But they were all talking about how they would be interested in going back when they are old enough.”
So many different nationalities were in the half-way house, so it was a different cultural experience from what they normally see in Buffalo High School.
“It was a great learning experience,” said Clifton. “We weren’t used to seeing all the different types of people. It was something new we haven’t really seen much of.”
Story By Bailey Hanson & Maddi Herzfeld
Photos by Emma Rodelius