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Julio moves from his hometown in Texas because the gang situation in his school had become a nightmare. In Corpus Christi, "the tension between a Hispanic gang (the Ramones) and an African-American gang (the Black Daddies) was at all-time high" at the time that Julio moved. The hallways were their territory and the adults retreated in fear of the gangs. Julio describes a literal warzone in which the principal runs to his office, afraid of confronting the reality that he has lost control of his building. The reader understands the intensity of this situation in the case of Mr. Cordero. A teacher who wanted to stand up to the gangs, Mr. Cordero informs the gangs that they are not to enter his classroom with gang clothing. Julio details that Mr. Cordero later dies, as the brakes in his car were cut. No one investigated who committed the crime, hoping to put the issue to rest. Yet, the distinct impression is that the gangs killed the teacher. Given Julio's father's history with African- Americans and his latent prejudice at his own experiences, the tension with the gangs in the school was enough to justify the move to Cincinnati.
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