The Times forwarded me an email from the parent of a kid who attended Woodrow Wilson High School during the time that Erin Gruwell taught there. She had a lot to say about the "truth" about this teacher. First of all (and I had read this elsewhere) Woodrow Wilson High School is not in a poor section of Long Beach, it is across the street from multi-million dollar homes. The school is 70% hispanic but has an affluent population as large as their population of gang-bangers. The scene in Freedom Writers where a full-on riot breaks out seems based on a food fight that occured during Gruwell's four years at the school. Apparently she exaggerates the animosity of her co-workers as well. The letter quotes a teacher from an article published in the Long Beach Press Telegram questioning her inability to get books from the bookroom. Apparently all she had to do was sign them out, since the room was open to all teachers. I've had plenty of problems getting books out of bookrooms, but I never suspected it had anything to do with the low expectations of the custodians of these books. Usually it was a way for them to exercise the little power they had.