Monday, September 24, 2007

The Jena 6

Recently there has been lot of talk about the Jena 6 six black students one of them assaulted a one student now however before that there was the white tree incident.


The "white tree" incident

At Jena High School, about 10% of enrolled students are African Americans and more than 85% are white. Early reporting asserted that students of different races seldom sat together, although this has been disputed.[6] According to early reports, black students typically sat on bleachers near the auditorium, while white students sat under a large tree, referred to as the "white tree" or "prep tree", in the center of the school courtyard.[5] On September 22, 2007, however, the AP reported that the "white tree" was no such thing, and that according to teachers and administrators at the school, students of all races had sat under it at one time or another.[6]

During a school assembly on August 31, 2006, a black male freshman student asked permission from the principal to sit under the "white tree".[7] According to the recounting of events given by U.S. Attorney Donald Washington, a Bush appointee who is himself black,[8], the question was posed in a "jocular fashion".[9] The principal told the students they could "sit wherever they wanted."[7] The freshman and his friends then sat under the tree.[10]

The following morning, nooses (reports differ whether there were three[5] or two[6]) were discovered hanging from the tree. It has been reported that Jena's principal learned that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion, that the board of education overruled his recommendation, and that Superintendent Roy Breithaupt agreed with the overruling. It was initially reported that the punishment was reduced to three days of in-school suspension.[5][11] According to the Associated Press, however, the three students were isolated at an alternative school for a month, and then spent two weeks on in-school suspension.[6]

The school superintendent was quoted as saying, "Adolescents play pranks. I don't think it was a threat against anybody."[12] Black residents of Jena claim that this decision stoked racial tensions that led to subsequent events.[11] However, a black teacher described seeing both white and black students "playing with [the nooses], pulling on them, jump-swinging from them, and putting their heads through them."[6]

According to U.S. Attorney Donald Washington, the FBI agents who investigated the incident, as well as federal officials who examined it, found that it "had all the markings of a hate crime." However, it wasn't prosecuted because it failed to meet federal standards required for the teens to be certified as adults.[13]

In late July 2007, U.S. Attorney Donald Washington noted that of the more than 40 statements taken regarding the assault, none mentioned the noose incident.[9] LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters stated there was no linkage between the noose incident and the beating. "When this case was brought to me and during our investigation and during the trial, there was no such linkage ever suggested. This compact story line has only been suggested after the fact."[13]

So should one of the boys get charged for assault? Yes i think so.

Of course there many more incidents involving the Jena six could it be racial backlash? I think it could well be.

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