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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Don't EVER, EVER Go to Paris, Texas!

Here is a perfect example of why I write this blog. Just as in Conrad Black's case, (see below) the American Justice system is FUCKED!

I first read this and thought it was a put on. When the reality sunk in I was almost sick to my stomach. Please, someone tell me it's a cruel hoax!!!

In Texas, a white teenager burns down her family's home and receives probation. A black one shoves a hall monitor and gets 7 years in prison. The state NAACP calls it `a signal to black folks.'

By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
Published March 12, 2007

PARIS, Texas -- The public fairgrounds in this small east Texas town look ordinary enough, like so many other well-worn county fair sites across the nation. Unless you know the history of the place.

There are no plaques or markers to denote it, but several of the most notorious public lynchings of black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds, where thousands of white spectators would gather to watch and cheer as black men were dragged onto a scaffold, scalded with hot irons and finally burned to death or hanged.

Brenda Cherry, a local civil rights activist, can see the fairgrounds from the front yard of her modest home, in the heart of the "black" side of this starkly segregated town of 26,000. And lately, Cherry says, she's begun to wonder whether the racist legacy of those lynchings is rebounding in a place that calls itself "the best small town in Texas."

"Some of the things that happen here would not happen if we were in Dallas or Houston," Cherry said. "They happen because we are in this closed town. I compare it to 1930s."

There was the 19-year-old white man, convicted last July of criminally negligent homicide for killing a 54-year-old black woman and her 3-year-old grandson with his truck, who was sentenced in Paris to probation and required to send an annual Christmas card to the victims' family.

There are the Paris public schools, which are under investigation by the U.S. Education Department after repeated complaints that administrators discipline black students more frequently, and more harshly, than white students.

And then there is the case that most troubles Cherry and leaders of the Texas NAACP, involving a 14-year-old black freshman, Shaquanda Cotton, who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun.

The youth had no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor--a 58-year-old teacher's aide--was not seriously injured. But Shaquanda was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of "assault on a public servant" and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison for up to 7 years, until she turns 21.

Just three months earlier, Superville sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation.

(Arrogant looking bastard, ain't he!)"

All Shaquanda did was grab somebody and she will be in jail for 5 or 6 years?" said Gary Bledsoe, an Austin attorney who is president of the state NAACP branch. "It's like they are sending a signal to black folks in Paris that you stay in your place in this community, in the shadows, intimidated."

The Tribune generally does not identify criminal suspects younger than age 17, but is doing so in this case because the girl and her family have chosen to go public with their story.

None of the officials involved in Shaquanda's case, including the local prosecutor, the judge and Paris school district administrators, would agree to speak about their handling of it, citing a court appeal under way.

But the teen's defenders assert that long before the September 2005 shoving incident, Paris school officials targeted Shaquanda for scrutiny because her mother had frequently accused school officials of racism.

"Shaquanda started getting written up a lot after her mother became involved in a protest march in front of a school," said Sharon Reynerson, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid, who has represented Shaquanda during challenges to several of the disciplinary citations she received. "Some of the write-ups weren't fair to her or accurate, so we felt like we had to challenge each one to get the whole story."

Among the write-ups Shaquanda received, according to Reynerson, were citations for wearing a skirt that was an inch too short, pouring too much paint into a cup during an art class and defacing a desk that school officials later conceded bore no signs of damage.

Shaquanda's mother, Creola Cotton, does not dispute that her daughter can behave impulsively and was sometimes guilty of tardiness or speaking out of turn at school--behaviors that she said were manifestations of Shaquanda's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which the teen was taking prescription medication.

Nor does Shaquanda herself deny that she pushed the hall monitor after the teacher's aide refused her permission to enter the school before the morning bell--although Shaquanda maintains that she was supposed to have been allowed to visit the school nurse to take her medication, and that the teacher's aide pushed her first.

But Cherry alleges that Shaquanda's frequent disciplinary write-ups, and the insistence of school officials at her trial that she deserved prison rather than probation for the shoving incident, fits in a larger pattern of systemic discrimination against black students in the Paris Independent School District.

In the past five years, black parents have filed at least a dozen discrimination complaints against the school district with the federal Education Department, asserting that their children, who constitute 40 percent of the district's nearly 4,000 students, were singled out for excessive discipline.

Chuckie needs to be taken off the bench and locked up somewhere where he can't do any more damage! (Along with a whole bunch of other people in Paris, Texas!)

Your "disgusted" scribe;
Allan W Janssen

Allan W Janssen is the author of The Plain Truth About God-101 (what the church doesn't want you to know!) www.God-101.com

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8 Comments:

Blogger Whitesnake said...

Only in the USA.........

You trying to put me off visiting?

Thursday, March 22, 2007 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

Not at all, but I have to tell you, I am getting very cautious about even going down to the States for a visit anymore! Sorry.

Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

The only place we have similar problems now is my old home town of Toronto. London Ontario where I live is a big city (1/2 million)but it's like Toronto was 30 or 40 years ago. Low crime, civil, not too much traffic, quality of life etc. (On the other hand we get all the Toronto and Detroit TV news programs and Detroit is a nightmare even compared to Toronto!)

Thursday, March 22, 2007 8:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Student sent to TYC for shoving aide

By Charles Richards
The Paris News Published March 12, 2006A 14-year-old girl has been sentenced to a state juvenile correction facility “for an indeterminate period not to exceed her 21st birthday” for shoving a 58-year-old teacher’s aide.The incident occurred Sept. 30 at Paris High School, while the aide was on hall monitor duty. The girl has a history of problems at school, according to court testimony.

County Judge Chuck Superville said the girl must spend a minimum of one year at a Texas Youth Commission facility. How much longer she will stay depends upon her progress, the judge said.

A three-man, three-woman jury listened to testimony Thursday and Friday before being handed the case about 3:30 p.m. Friday. The jury deliberated just 10 minutes before reporting it had a verdict: “We the jury find it true that the respondent … did engage in delinquent conduct by commission of an assault on a public servant as charged in the petition.”

Superville discharged the jury, and the trial moved into the punishment phase, which continued for about two and a half hours before defense attorney Wesley Newell and the Lamar County district attorney’s office rested about 6:15 p.m. Friday.

School officials said they have dealt with the girl, who is now a high school freshman, many times on disciplinary issues dating back several years.

Newell argued for probation, and Superville had gone on record that sending a teenager to the TYC was something he generally would do only as a last resort.

Prosecutors argued against probation, saying that the girl’s mother is perhaps her biggest problem and that the girl has no hope of getting better as long as she’s in the same home as her mother. District Attorney Gary Young said the mother’s response to any problem at school was to paint school officials as racist.

During the punishment phase, a half-dozen or so teachers — both white and black — from the high school or from Paris Alternative School, where the girl was transferred after the incident last September, described the girl as “openly defiant, generally did not follow rules.”

Michael Johnson, a teacher/coach at the alternative school, said after a teacher “wrote her up” for violation of rules, the girl told him “I’m going to bust her in the nose.” She wanted to go home, but he made her go to the office with him, Johnson said. He said she told him, “You don’t know me very well, because I’ll burn this school down.”

Johnson, who is black, said the girl’s mother berated him, calling him the equivalent of an Uncle Tom.

The jury had three women, one of whom was black, and three men.

PHS principal Gary Preston said the school district made available every resource it had “but regularly got road-blocked with non-support of her mother.” He said he knows of nothing more that can be done.

“I think (the girl) is capable, but she is enabled by a mother who won’t support the attempts to help her. … Up until now, I think it has been very harmful for her to be in the same home with her mother.”

The girl admitted pushing the teacher’s aide, Cleda Brownfield, but said she did so only after Brownfield shoved her first.

The Sept. 30 incident occurred about 15 to 20 minutes before regular classes were to begin at 8:30 a.m. at Paris High School. Brownfield was the hall monitor in a building where some students were having meetings and others were being helped by tutors.

The hall monitor’s job is to lock the doors about 8:05 a.m., keeping all other students out of the hallways until 8:30 a.m. to keep disruptions at a minimum. Brownfield said she was on her way to lock the door when the girl walked in. When the girl was told she couldn’t come in, she protested, saying she had to go to the restroom, Brownfield testified.

She told her she’d have to use a restroom in the cafeteria across the courtyard, and the girl finally left, she said. Minutes later, when another student was admitted into the building for a meeting, the girl insisted that she also be let in. When the girl told her, “I’ll knock your block off,” and moved to come in, Brownfield said, she put up her hands in a defensive posture, and the girl responded by shoving her hard.

A teacher, Jerry Fleming, was nearby and the girl complained that he had a pencil in his hand, causing a cut on her hand when he put out his hand to restrain her. He also stepped on her shoelaces, causing her to fall, and she bumped her head, she said.

School resource officer Brad Ruthart testified he was on duty in the parking lot when he was summoned to the building because Brownfield “had been assaulted by a student.” He said he found her in the lounge and the student seated outside the principal’s office.

Brownfield “was crying, very upset, holding her arm. I asked her if she was OK, and she said she was not. I felt she needed medical help. She was so upset she had difficulty talking,” said Ruthart, a Paris police officers who works as a school resource officer for PISD.

The girl “was very calm, didn’t appear to be a threat,” Ruthart testified. During the next half hour, he talked to the various teachers who were either involved or had seen part of what happened. He also talked to the girl and to several of her friends, all of whom insisted that Brownfield shoved first.

“I thought it didn’t seem like something Brownfield would do. From what I knew of her and from what others were saying, it didn’t add up,” he said. Ruthart said he had known the teacher’s aide for several years and described her as “mild-mannered, soft-spoken, a grandmotherly type.”

The girl’s mother testified late Thursday afternoon that she got dressed and drove to Paris High School after receiving a telephone call that her daughter had been involved in an incident.

“She was sitting in the office with two other girls, crying. She had a knot on her head and a cut on her hand,” she said.

She talked with Ruthart and Preston, she said.

“I was upset because my daughter was sitting there hurting, and nobody was doing anything to help her. I asked them why nothing had been done to treat her injuries,” she said.

Newell asked if she got any satisfaction from them.

“No, they could care less,” she said.

She took her daughter to the hospital emergency room, where she was treated for a contusion on her head, a laceration on her hand and a sprained neck, she said.

About an hour after the incident, Brownfield was removed from the school on a stretcher and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

The girl’s mother said her daughter has Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and was trying to get into the building that day so she could get medication from the school nurse.

Brownfield testified the girl made no mention of needing to see the nurse and that if she had, she would have been allowed to do so. Ruthart said the girl also said nothing to him about having wanted in the building to see the school nurse.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 2:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I've lived here all my life, and I don't see that. My kids went to Paris High School, and they never had one minute of a problem with the school system, the courts or the police."

Mary Ann Fisher - Paris City Council/Mayor Pro Tem

(She's black).

Sunday, March 25, 2007 2:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paris Texas Case Highlights Challenges Faced by Black Children Across the Country
Posted by Shawn Williams on March 22nd, 2007
I'm going to come address the situation in Paris from three different angles:

Broken Homes

Broken Schools

Broken Justice

Disclaimer: I do not know Shaquanda Cotton nor her mother Creola Cotton. I am a graduate of Paris High School and I have two nephews and a godson currently enrolled at Paris High School. I'm bringing my own perspective to the story from news reports and anecdotal conversations over the previous months.

Broken Homes

The case of Shaquanda Cotton has become bigger than any one individual, any one school, and any one town. As a matter of fact, the article of the Cotton family's plight was one of the most popular articles at digg.com yesterday. But individual lives are at stake, the lives of our children.

One of the challenges with cases like Ms. Cotton's is that trying to understand them from any one point of view diminishes their magnitude and scope, and often leads to misplaced energy. Racism in the schools is real; I'll deal with that tomorrow. Our justice system is unjust; that's for Monday. But today, I have to talk about the broken homes in the black community and our broken kids who we are sending to school.

There is not one school district in America that is designed to educate African-American children. While districts across the country try to figure out the best way to teach our new neighbors from the south, there has not been one attempt by our government in 400 years to fashion a curriculum that serves the unique needs of black youth. As such, if a child does not go to his first day of kindergarten understanding the importance of education and that school is only a place to learn (not play and socialize), chances are they will never get it.

Parents are getting younger and younger in our community. It's amazing how many high school graduates have parents who are 35 years old and younger. So in the most influential year of a child's life, years 1-5, many of our children are being raised by children. Not only that, but more than 40% of Black children live with a single mother compared to 20% of Hispanic children and 12 % of white children. Black fathers are often absent and children our missing a vital part of their development by not having a male present. Not that children can't succeed under those circumstances, but their success is the exception rather than the rule. This is not new information, but it speaks to the unique challenges many African-American children face when they walk through the school's door.

In my days in the Paris Independent School District, there were so many ways that our brokenness manifested itself in the classroom, in the hallways, and on the bus. I remember one of my good friends who when the teachers left the room would pass gas, get up and walk around fanning his stinky behind in the face of classmates. Or my boys high school who brought crack to school in empty 35 mm film cases.

And why do our kids fight so much? I can recount the many throwdowns that occurred on the bus after school let out. There were also fights in the hallway, many times between best friends. Young black girls were the worst when it came to fighting. Hair pulling, clothes tearing, face scratching, these girls got down for theirs. I don't recall once see two white females involved in a physical altercation during my school years.

And there is still a big problem with fighting in Paris Schools. But now it's not just the kids, but sometimes the mothers jump in and it's like a tag team match. There are also instances where hundreds of kids, black and white, congregate at the park in my old neighborhood and tape street brawls. The police are slow to intervene if they respond at all. None of what I mentioned is unique to Paris. Nor is sex in the schools. I was at church here in Dallas one day and kids ran over to tell us that a young lady at the high school across the street was giving boys oral sex for a dollar while they waited for the bus.

One of my nephews was getting in lots of trouble as a freshman at Paris High School. I met with one of his teachers, who was black, that outlined the discipline problems that she was having out of him in her class. One of the most frustrating parts of this problem was that he was able to do the work, but his behavior was too often getting in the way. Fortunately for him there was a family intervention, in the second half of his 9th grade year. The path that he was on had only two outcomes: death or jail. By the Grace of God he was able to get himself on the right track his sophomore year and he is scheduled to graduate this year. There was nothing that Paris High School did, or would have done for him more than call the police to come pick him up.

We as a community must have higher expectations of our children, demand more of ourselves as parents and mentors, and have a more realistic view of public schools. Schools are not designed to motivate our kids to learn or teach our children how to act. We have to have what Henry Louis Gates refers to as a " moral revolution." Gates actually says it like this: “Unless there is a moral revolution and a revolution in attitude among our people, unless [our kids] decide to stay in school, learn the ABCs, not to get pregnant when you’re 16, not to run drugs, not to sell drugs…we’re doomed to have a relatively small black middle class and huge underclass and never the twain shall meet."

In the end, our intolerance of poor behavior will have to equal our disdain for racism and injustice. We have to hold our parents to the same standards to which we hold our teachers and our administrators. A wise and seasoned sister that I heard speak at the Tavis Smiley meeting last month put it like this, "…No Child Left Behind sucks, but we are leaving our own children behind."

Sunday, March 25, 2007 2:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superville: Look at all the facts

By Mary Madewell
The Paris News

Published March 25, 2007

County Judge Chuck Superville says he fears for the community’s safety and is calling for the national media and other organizations to investigate the facts before drawing conclusions about the Shaquanda Cotton case.

The judge said a March 12 story in The Chicago Tribune unfairly painted the community as racist and a recent protest as well as the threat of future protests by organized groups with national media coverage could “spin this thing out of control.”

Superville said he has refrained from commenting until now because of his position as the judge in the Cotton case, but that he believes he has a higher duty as county judge to maintain order in the community.

“I call on the media and others involved to go to the public record to get the facts of the case before they rush to judgment,” Superville said Saturday.

Superville said after a three-day jury trial, which found that Cotton committed an act of juvenile delinquency — namely assault causing bodily injury against a public servant — he determined the best place for her would be Texas Youth Commission.

“If Shaquanda had been white, the outcome would have been the same,” Superville said. “My decision was based on facts and law and I am confident this was the correct decision based on the facts I was presented.”

The March 2006 case is on appeal with the Texarkana Court of Appeals. The court conducted a 10-hour hearing in August 2006 to consider a request that Cotton be released on bond.

The judge said Cotton could have been released at that time but would not speculate why the appellate court did not grant the bond. The judge said he presented the facts of the case and that attorneys for both the prosecution and for Cotton presented arguments.

Superville said he gave the 14-year old an indeterminate sentence up to seven years — her 21st birthday.

“Once I set the indeterminate sentence, Shaquanda holds the key to her jail cell,” Superville said. “It is up to the child and TYC.”

In explaining the juvenile process, Superville said after a jury makes it’s finding, the judge determines the disposition.

“I am bound by law to ask lawyers whether or not reasonable effort has been made to prevent or eliminate the need for the child to be removed from her home,” Superville said.

“I also must determine whether or not there is enough family support to assist the child in successfully completing terms and conditions of probation,” Superville said.

“Thirdly, I must determine whether or not it is in the child’s best interest to be removed from the home,” the judge said.

“Both lawyers presented evidence on those points,” Superville explained. “The county attorney put on a substantial amount of evidence that Shaquanda had been a persistent behavior problem at school and that the mother failed to cooperate at every turn.”

“I asked if there was anything that could be done that had not already been done and the repeated answer was ‘no,’” Superville said.

Superville said reports from Lamar County Juvenile Probation Department also weighed on his decision. Before a juvenile trial which could result in probation, the probation department conducts a fact-finding survey.

“The juvenile officer said the mother refused to cooperate and said he had no reason to believe the mother would cooperate if Shaquanda received probation,” Superville said.

“That theme was repeated witness after witness—that the mother made it impossible to help Shaquanda,” Superville said. “She blamed everyone except the child for misbehavior.”

Sunday, March 25, 2007 3:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blog this: Nothing happened at Paris High

By Phillip Hamilton
The Paris News

Published March 25, 2007

Shaquanda Cotton was NOT sentenced to seven years in prison.

The 14-year-old, who was convicted of assaulting a public servant for shoving a 58-year-old teacher's aide, was sentenced to a state juvenile correction facility "for an indeterminate period not to exceed her 21st birthday." Whether she spends seven years in the dormitory-style facility she was assigned to depends on one person — Shaquanda.

Ever since the Chicago Tribune's Howard Whit did a hatchet job on Lamar County justice, folks across the nation have believed that County Judge Chuck Superville put Shaquanda behind bars for seven years. The fact is that's just plain and simple NOT true.

Let me repeat that for our recent out-of-town guests. The judge did NOT sentence Shaquanda to seven years and she is NOT in a prison.

By definition, an indeterminate sentence is one structured so that the person's conduct determines the date of release. The truth is that Shaquanda could be out by now. She determines how soon she comes home by her actions.

But that's not something the Chicago Tribune bothered to mention during the newspaper's journalistic lynching of this community earlier this month. Why lets facts get in the way of a good story, right?

The problem is that bloggers and talk-radio blabbers in the Metroplex and elsewhere have taken the spark the Chicago Tribune story started and fanned it into flames of outrage against our community. Now, other media are flocking to Paris to write about what one CNN producer told me last week is the "broader story" about how Shaquanda's case is affecting Paris.

Shaquanda's case isn't affecting Paris, but outside influences certainly are.

In the year after Shaquanda was convicted, absolutely nothing happened except Shaquanda's mother and a handful of wanna-be civil rights activists convinced a Dallas and Houston-based tabloid that Shaquanda had been wronged. The poorly written report was laced with inaccurate information and failed to garner much attention — especially with local African-Americans who are familiar with Shaquanda's case. Credible civil rights advocates, including most black ministers, did not become involved.

Then came Whitt and the Chicago Tribune with a much more polished version of the wanna-be civil rights activists' story. As spring break arrived, Blogs Gone Wild played on Web sites across the nation as wanna-be writers ate up Whitt's tale of a vindictive, racist school district and judicial system.

By Monday, ill-informed individuals marched on Lamar County Courthouse and PISD's administration building hurling insults at Superintendent Paul Trull and Assistant Superintendent Robert High, a real civil rights advocate who march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the '60s.

By Friday, the community had been whipped into a frenzy with rumors of protests and counter protests at Paris High, the plaza and the courthouse. Amid rumors that African-American students would walk away from classes at 11 a.m. and participate in a protest rally, law enforcement officers and school officials prepared for the worse. Extra lawmen were put on stand-by status and the front of Paris High was shielded with school buses. A white line was chalked to show protesters how far they could go without breaking the law.

Guess what happened?

Nothing — absolutely nothing.

Not one Paris High student walked away from campus, which was probably a great disappointment for the news vans parked across the street and the videographer aboard a chopper hovering over the school.

I know nothing happened because I had lunch in the Paris High cafeteria with Superintendent Paul Trull, PISD trustee George Fisher and a handful of African-America ministers.

Will there be another protest organized this week?

Probably.

But don't expect to see more than a handful of Paris residents participating. Those who know the facts understand Shaquanda's case is about the commission of a criminal act, not racism.

Sunday, March 25, 2007 3:15:00 AM  

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