Here's my take on middle schools in Baltimore:
The majority of standalone middle schools are places of violence with little learning going on. If you are a bright kid who can blend into the culture of the school (i.e. you are the right race, you talk the right way, you wear the right clothes etc) you can make it out of some of these schools intact and having learned what you need to learn to be successful in high school.
Alternately there are middle schools with entrance requirements where most of the kids come out prepared for high school, but these are only an option for kids who test well and with a limited number of seats there will be kids who are bright enough who will be turned away.
There are charter schools who have varying levels of success at bucking the trend of middle schools, but these typically have lotteries with a 1 in 10 chance of acceptance. When that's not the case these charters are either having safety or academic problems that are in line with the neighborhood middle schools.
Add into this mix a kid who takes the Alt-MSA, who needs acceptance from his peers to grow behaviorally, who is never going to look or act like a "normal" kid, and who needs teachers who are willing to modify his work to accommodate his disability. A kid who in situations of chaos can wander and really has no survival skills if he gets lost.
This is why I plead for a continuation of elementary school.