Jamal, 17, starts his senior year at Piedmont Prep thanks to winning a scholarship. His parents, Jerry and Christine, provide him a middle-class lifestyle but are stretching every resource of time and money to make that happen and have to leave Jamal to wait a half hour at a sketchy bus stop in Oakland to get to school, since they have to work.
Jamal decides to carry his father’s gun to school, after being jumped at the sketchy bus stop. He stoically keeps these experiences to himself, not wanting to trouble his tired parents. He successfully scares off the thieves, but the gun won’t be fired until he reaches Piedmont Prep- with disastrous results.