A 17-year-old running back assaults a high school teacher for doing her job.1http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/highschool/stories/2007/11/03/lassiter_1104.html?cxntlid=homepage_tab_newstab He tosses her around and breaks her finger.
Who would you worry about? The attacker, or the victim?
That depends, apparently, on whether you’re a “human rights activist” who focuses on “black unity.” That describes Gerald Rose of the New Order Human Rights Organization.
Does unity mean defending indefensible actions, like assault and battery? Apparently so, if they involve a black person with a somewhat famous father assaulting a white person. I’d give you good odds that if this incident involved a white student and a white teacher, the soi-disant activist would never have noticed it. If the student were white and the teacher black, he might have gotten involved if the school didn’t press charges against the student.
But since the student in question is black, and he did assault a white teacher, Rose saw a chance to get his name in the papers. I’m betting he smelled money, too, because the student’s father is semi-famous. Money is important to Rose, who spent 44 days in the Cobb County jail for failure to pay over $26,000 in child support. Whoops! Maybe some of that activism should start at home?
So far, Rose claims to have met with the high school’s principal to “express concern over the incident.“2http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/stories/2007/11/05/lassiter_1105.html Why would the principal agree to meet with this person? Privacy rules would keep him from actually discussing the case with Rose, so did Rose get in to see the principal on false pretenses?
Rose claims that “he will appeal to Cobb County school district officials not to rush to judgment in deciding punishment for a Lassiter High football player arrested last week.” He’s also trying to get in touch with the student’s family, “to offer support.” And hopefully, collect donations!
The boy turned himself in to the police and got out of jail the same day on a $5,000 bond. One condition of the bond is that he stays away from Finch, which apparently means that he can’t return to that school after his 10-day suspension.3The fact that he’s suspended, instead of expelled, is worthy of a rant of its own. Is that what Rose is appealing? Perhaps he thinks the teacher should leave, instead?
The boy’s family was expected to make a statement Monday (November 5), but if they did I haven’t found a trace of it online.
The races of the people involved are irrelevant to me, as they should be to the school, the court system, and everyone else involved. None of the media outlets felt it necessary to bring up race. Rose, however, seems to see everything through an “us against them” filter, leading him to see racism where there is none. A “human rights organization” that is only concerned with one kind of human is absurd. Rose and his organization would be far more credible if he just admitted that it’s a “black rights organization.” There’s nothing wrong or shameful about that, as the NAACP has shown us for many years.
5 thoughts on “Teen Assaults Teacher, Activist Worries About Teen?”
I have no intention of taking sides on this, but I do wish to comment. And this is not in defense of Rose or Fullwood, it’s just about our current society in general.
“The races of the people involved are irrelevant to me, as they should be to the school, the court system, and everyone else involved.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the way it is. Rose isn’t the only one with the ‘us against them’ mentality, though he might be the only one outspoken about it. Unfortunately, many teachers, many judges, many police officers, and many other people in our society are racist and prejudice, though they’d never come right out and say it.
I’m not saying this is one of those incidents, but racism still exist, and until we as a society start to get that right, there are going to be people like Rose, some with good intentions others not so good, rising up and speaking out.
I have contacts in the education community, and at Lassiter, specifically. The media has given you a really flawed impression of what happened, and your writing seems to derive accordingly.
The story — the student had a cell phone, which was turned on. The phone was somehow disruptive (stories vary here as to if it was SMS or a call). The teacher came up to the student and demanded the phone. The student refused. The teacher stood OVER the student (a violation of policy for Cobb County and the state), and repeated the demand. The student stood up quickly to respond, knocking the teacher back, who then fell to the ground and suffered an injury.
First, the teacher is wrong for violating the space of the student. And, I will expect this is going to be addressed privately by the administration. As well, the student is in the wrong for running into the teacher. This is an act of unintentional assault, and he should pay the appropriate penalties. He should also be removed from school for the time required for causing a disruption (the phone) and for impeding a teacher. The student should NOT be expelled, unless that is the punishment registered by the county/state, for the two violations. The student wasn’t flinging people around, as many of the news stories implied.
The judge has, by requiring the student remain away from the teacher, put the education of the student at risk. This is a defacto expulsion without alternative educational opportunity (once the suspension is over, the student starts acruing absences). This action is reprehensible, and it is not at all unreasonable to want to protect the right of the student to a public education. The fact that a large man caused injury to a slight woman may be what caused the Judge to make such a ruling. It may also be race. It even could be someone supporting the cult of the athlete over education (something that always gets my blood boiling). The only way to know, and to address this properly, is with the right advocates on all sides.
Given that Fulwood’s first story was (according to other sources in education) that the teacher addressed him, he turned around and “bumped into her,” and she then fell down stairs, injuring herself, I have to question yet another version of events.
If it does have any truth in it, let’s look at “stood up suddenly.” The boy is an athlete. He knows his body. He knew he’d impact her if he did that. I’ve seen a picture of the teacher, and she isn’t a large person.
The boy had the phone on him during the school day. He was violating both Lassiter and Cobb County school system policies. He knew that. He chose to misbehave. He chose not to turn the telephone over as soon as he was told to do so. He provoked a confrontation.
The teacher may not have reacted perfectly, but it’s difficult to talk to someone sitting down without “standing over” him. She was probably trying to avoid further class disturbance by being close to him. She certainly wouldn’t have expected a violent reaction.
The boy has an impulse control problem, at the very least. He’s 17, not 7. The teacher has a right to go to work without fear. It is quite normal for restraining orders to be issued in these cases. It’s much simpler to move the boy than the teacher, and there’s no justification for further disrupting the life of the victim.
The boy could attend the alternative school in Cobb County (I’m sure they have one). He could transfer to a charter school. He could attend a private school. He could be homeschooled. It is ridiculous to thing that his education must be interrupted because he cannot attend Lassiter.
Ariah, I know that there are far too many racist people in the world, and I know that racism permeates the “criminal justice system.” I just finished some research into capital punishment and how it is administered in the U.S., and if I had any doubts before, that would have erased them. It should not be there, though, and it’s up to every one of us to change that. Yes, the boy deserves fair treatment. I want him to be treated exactly like he would be if he were my child, or a cop’s child, or the judge’s child. None of that should matter.
The boy is not the victim here, though. The teacher is. And I’m really sick and tired of hearing people advocating for offenders, rather than worrying about the welfare of victims.
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