The first thing the school principal noticed was the large number of new students coming from a tiny, isolated neighborhood that didn’t exist two years ago.
Then it was the repeated fights — which would begin on the bus ride home, fester in the neighborhood, then come back to school the next day, said Glendale Elementary School Principal Mickey Buhl.
And there were other troubling signs — youngsters shaving their eyebrows and cutting their hair in ways that Buhl said indicated flirtation with the idea of gangs. Glendale staff who went to the Owl Creek neighborhood, off Voges Road on the southeast side near McFarland, saw an unfinished development sandwiched between two industrial parks and far from stores, social services and bus lines.
Madison police also noticed problems. From March 1 to June 30 of this year, police responded to 81 calls for service, ranging from theft to battery, in the tiny development, said Lt. Carl Strasburg.
Related: Police calls near Madison area high schools: 1996-2006.