I'm from a neighboring state and visit Linden, IN often. Linden reminds me of what my small town was like 15 years ago before the huge influx of migrant workers that have now settled in the area. I went to school in my hometown schools and now I am a teacher there.
The primarily illegal immigrants brought with them families with generations of gang involvement. Our schools are now places where violent crime is frequent. Families that do not speak English make it difficult for us to help their children do well in school. The Mexican flag, shirts that say Mexican Power, Brown Power, etc. are present regularly. We are called racist if we suggest that is not appropriate attire for school.
There is not the value at home for education that used to be present in our community and as early as 5th grade children are being trained to be hoodlums, thugs and to admire people that act that way. Bringing this to the attention of the families often yields the response "What is wrong with gang membership? His father is in a gang." It is not true of all hispanic families, but the rest fear the gang families and will not stand up to them. I spend most of my time with discipline rather than curriculum in the classroom, and am often called upon to break up bloody fights in the hall that send children to the hospital. This is in 7th grade.
I see children with as many as 30 nationalities. Immigrants from many European countries, the Philippines, Korea, India and other countries besides Mexico make it a point to learn the language and learn it quickly. They push their children to do well in school and these children are often well behaved and good students, so it isn't immigration, per se that is the problem. They aspire to live the American Dream and are willing to put in the hard work at school to get a good education. They value what they get rather than take it for granted as some entitlement. They have a respect for the rules rather than flagrant flaunting of rules and laws of the country.
Does anyone see an answer to this growing problem? People in my profession are tired of being in these violent environments and having to choose between managing the behavior of kids that won't let you ignore them and giving the good kids an education that is fun and teaches them to love learning and be good citizens.
People of Linden and rural Indiana -- value and enjoy what you have now.