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Behind the Razor Wire

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Like so many teachers, I spent much of my first day on the job asking myself, "What am I doing here?'' But it was more than the usual first-day jitters. The school where I teach, Rosewood High School, is patrolled by armed guards and is located behind fences and razor wire on Rikers Island, a complex of grimy city prisons adjacent to noisy LaGuardia Airport in Queens, N.Y. It is one of three high schools on the island, but the only one for women. The students are either awaiting trial or serving sentences of up to one year.

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