continued "There are three parts to the curriculum," explains Berman. "What it's trying to do is provide kids with substantive knowledge about the dangers of crime and corruption, so they demystify it and deglorify it, and at the same time provide the students with resistance techniques that help them do more than 'just say no.'
"For instance, what do you do if you're a 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kid, and somebody says, 'Here's $100. Take this package. Don't worry about it. There's nothing wrong with it. Take this package into school and deliver it to so-and-so.' For kids in Tijuana, kids in San Diego, kids anywhere, that's a very hard thing not to take the money.
"So that's what they're trying to do with this curriculum. They're presenting the kids with different scenarios and then letting them work their way through it, so they learn what works, what doesn't work.
"It's also showing them through the substantive part of it that the road towards crime and corruption is a very slippery slope, and you can get on it very innocently and innocuously without realizing what you've done. But once you get on that road, it's awfully hard to get off."
Berman says the curriculum is divided into three parts. "The first part looks at values, ethics, decision-making, and you get through to students that your decisions have consequences, and you've got to make the right decisions in life, on any subject matter."
The second part deals with "What is crime? What is corruption?
"It shows the cold, hard reality of how bad it really is to get involved in this," reads the report. "There are no rich criminals who have retired and lived happily ever after. You either wind up dead or in prison."
The third part of the curriculum deals with resistance techniques.
Back in the classroom in Delegación de la Presa, Filemón Moreno is waxing philosophical. The discussion is about soul; the universe; liquid, solid and gaseous matter; life itself. And his class is completely engaged. Part of the reason, they say, is that Moreno has already changed their lives, by motivating them to act for themselves. The kids have learned to turn their backs on gangs when they come around the school.
Dealers used to crowd the road outside this school, looking sell drugs. "Now look," the students say, pointing to the empty road.
"Well, there's still a lot of selling and buying," says Paulo Salazar, 16. "You can get it outside the school if you know the right people. But [Filemón Moreno] has taught us to look at the consequences."
"I don't mix with those people," says Julia Zacarías, 17. "Before I didn't know that drugs could provoke so many bad things. Now, thanks to this class, it is easier to argue back on drugs."
"Yes, it has changed things for me," says Martina, who's 15. "When I am going to do something wrong I think about what he tells me. I go ahead and read my notebook, so I can change a little bit. The most important things we have been taught are about corruption, and about drugs, and the sexual life. But the most important thing is about drugs."
On September 29, Mayor Francisco Vega de la Madrid plans to return the compliment and host a CIVITAS anti-corruption conference in Tijuana. According to organizers, the idea is to build civic resistance to crime, to get people to speak out against the Mafia, to break the silence.