Chris Rodriguez takes on old routine in a new way

Thursday update: Another story, about Chris’s classmates at Crocker Highlands, ran in today’s Tribune. The fifth-graders used borrowed wheelchairs last week as an exercise in empathy. Chris might return to school in the next week.


During an interview last week, Chris Rodriguez said something that struck me as particularly insightful for an 11-year-old (although, after interviewing him and his classmates, maybe I should re-evaluate my assessment of that age group):

“People in wheelchairs can do everything that you can, just in a different way.”


Chris was paralyzed from the waist down after a stray bullet came through the wall of his music school on Jan. 10, and he’s been trying to return to a normal routine.

Tribune photographer/videographer Aric Crabb filmed a moving video of Chris at home, and another one of a school visit to Crocker Highlands Elementary School for his birthday last week.

The story ran in today’s paper (note: my original ending, which included the above quote, was accidentally lopped off in the print edition but has been fixed online).

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    Words sometimes fail to express reactions we we read these stories of children being damaged for life while in their homes, asleep in their beds or just doing their homework due to the chaos all around us in this Brave New World.

    You can’t get over it because of this feeling that it’s not going to end and will even get worse. We can’t protect anybody anymore from the declining conditions, but it’s so slow and gradual we forget about it until news stories like this cross our view.

    I work with cases where people are changed for life out of the blue by crime. Sometimes infants, Sometimes schoolchildren. I’ve been asked how I handle the exposure. I guess I just disassociate. Maybe the stress pops up elsewhere.

    I have told relatives they need to plan to relocate away from the Bay Area – they ignore the very thought. These are the same people who refuse to do cancer screening too. Funny thing, other friends are doing exactly that relocating to lower crime areas such as Reno/Sparks (no income tax) and Portland (no sales tax). I don’t expect to retire within CA. Taxes and crime will play a huge part is deciding where to relocate to.

    It’s good to see that Chris is working so hard to recover. Good Luck to him.