EXCLUSIVE: Inside the school where many Baltimore rioters came from

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BALTIMORE, Md. (PIX11) -- The world has seen the Baltimore CVS drugstore and nearby Mondawmin Mall where young people rioted, looted and burned on Monday after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old who died after from a mysterious spinal injury while in police custody.

Many of the people involved, according to West Baltimore residents, were from the nearest high school to the two sites, Frederick Douglass High. PIX11 News was given exclusive access to the school, where conversations revealed frustration over what caused the rioting, as well as disappointment with the way the violence of a few ended up making the entire school community and neighborhood look bad.

On Wednesday, hip hop star Wale went to the school and spoke with students. Wale is from nearby Washington, D.C., and said he understands many of their frustrations. He also encouraged students to express those frustrations differently.

"They were saying we could protest better," said Teddy Shanda-Adams, a Douglass student who was at the assembly with Wale. Shanda-Adams further explained that protesting better meant to not resort to violence.

It wasn't just a local celebrity speaking at the school, where a few dozen National Guard troops are stationed across the street. Among students and teachers there was seemingly endless talk about the looting and rioting Monday.

"The majority of students need to know we care," one teacher said in a round-table session."

She added that the overwhelming majority of students hadn't participated at all in the rioting, looting and burning, but were instead "caught up in it, trying to get home."

Another teacher said one of his students was among the looters, but "wrote one of the best essays I've ever read." The teachers said they hoped that coverage of Monday's violence and the people involved and the reasons behind it would be treated with greater nuance.

The round-table was set up by the teachers' union in Baltimore. Its president, Marietta English, mentioned on Wednesday the same issue that seemed to be on everyone's minds: a report by Baltimore Police into the April 12 in-custody death of Freddie Gray. The report was scheduled to be released on Friday, but was instead released a day early to the Maryland state's attorney.

Despite that change, which was meant to lessen expectations in the West Baltimore community of criminal charges being made soon against the six police officers involved in the Gray case, leaders in the schools were still bracing for unrest on Friday, when the report had originally been expected to be released.

Some members of the West Baltimore community, where Gray was from, also were expecting the report to recommend criminal charges against the six officers. That will not happen. Instead, the state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby, will decide, in her own due time, what action, if any, to take.

Still, concerns persist that misinformation about the report will linger and that Friday will see more violence.

"We possibly could have issues on Friday," said Christine Flowers, an advocate for the homeless who also does work at Douglass High School.

She added that if people were expecting results on Friday and didn't get them, there could be a situation where "uninformed" young people could be back out on the street "throwing bricks and rocks."

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