Kimberly Wilder is a member of the Green Party of New York, and is an education advocate AND activist. She wrote a piece on Jena from her standpoint as both a white progressive and an education advocate and gave me a heads up about it. A quote:
One piece of logic which is missing from many people’s examination of the case is the whole body of education law. I work at an education advocacy center. Due to my experience there, I can see clearly the many junctures where this whole situation was handled in an absolutely unfair, negligent, and biased way by the school administrators and government people involved. Through the paradigm of education rights, law and processes, the whole Jena 6 saga – from nooses, to months of racial conflict that was not addressed properly, to the prosecution of the 6 black young men – was all handled entirely wrong and entirely biased.
I realize that it is a lot to call upon a casual observer and commentator on the Jena 6 Students’ case to have a deep understanding of education law. But, I would say: If you believe you have a right to publicly assert that these children should face criminal charges, then you should have a responsibility to know something about the law which exists, and these children’s rights under that law.
There are at least 3 federal laws, and 1 Louisiana law, which, if followed by the school system, would probably have stopped the whole Jena situation somewhere at (or maybe even before) the hanging of the nooses. If someone wants to assert that justice demands that Mychal Bell deserves some criminal charges because he did something wrong, then justice would have to admit that school administrators deserve criminal charges as well.
Many of us have known that school officials were extremely derelict in their duties. But this really drives it home and in doing so brings to light the much larger issues that should concern ALL with school aged children (at least). The full post can be found here. This is GOOD work.