****SPOILERS**** Tough but sensitive social worker Neil Brock, George C. Scott, lends his time and effort to help a number of Puerto Rican youths who dropped out of school and joined this street gang the "Copperheads" who are on the verge of instead of getting an education are on the road to getting a one way ticket straight to the Rykers Island detention facility. It's dedicated teacher Wallace Mapels, Howard Da Silva, who tried to get one of the mixed up and confused gang members young Juano Pozo, Alexander Lopez, to see the light in what a good education will mean for him in the future and to set an example for his fellow empty headed "Copperheads" to follow. What soon turns out to be a tug of war between Brack, who's there to lend a hand, and Maples to get Juano on the straight and narrow with gang leader Power, Santiago Burgos, almost leads to a rumble between the "Copperheads" and the city education department. Ending with a deadly confrontation that almost goes viral between Power and his gang members and the principle of the school-P.S 10-that they were expelled from Mr. Packer, Ben Hammer.
It's the very feeling and sensitive, even more then Neil Brock, Mr. Maples who by changing his mind and coming back to help the young and confused Juano who earlier together with the "Copperheads" smashed up his school that finally convinced him as well as a number of the "Copperheads" that a life of crime as well as truancy wasn't the answer to their problems in life. Buying Juano a new book of poetry that he, in a fit of rage, trashed and not having him pay the $1.95 it cost him showed Juano that learning was far better then gang banging. And before long he was soon to become an honor student as well as poet laureate at P.S 10. As for gang leader Power he went back to doing his "Thing" on the street and was never heard from again. That's until his arrest for breaking and entering in a Spanish Harlem liquor store looking to get himself high, without paying for it of course, on both cheap and inexpensive booze while popping uppers or pep bills that could have well lead him to suffer a fatal heart attack.
Another win for the good guys-Brock & Mples-but at a steep price in not being able to save the entire gang of "Copperheads" lead by gang leader Power from their life of at first petty and them serious criminal activity. But in saving young Juano from joining them all their mostly failed efforts turned out to be far more then worth it.
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