Monday March 3, 2008

“The tenth grader said a pizza was thrown over his head at an officer and that he was then told by an officer he was not getting out of the way fast enough. He said an officer slammed him off a table.” — Incident at Edison High School. A confrontation between a vice-principal and a student on Thursday led to a sit-in protest by many students in the lunch hall Friday, for which over 60 police were called in, resulting in a violent melee. Update: Does this look like “nothing more than a classic example of kids fabricating a story to justify their own misdeeds”?

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  1. depressed    Mon Mar 3, 11:56 AM #  

    I just returned from the protest this morning with the students demands, which include firing the Vice Principal, getting all charges dropped and implementing restorative justice in the school (basically a community, student led sort of thing instead of relying on suspensions and policing as heavily).

    It was great to see the students really articulating their beliefs and being so passionate and organized.

    Apparently last week, the police really came in swinging, even hitting a pregnant girl in the belly, sending her to the hospital. It is depressing that the only way Edison deals with problematic students and those that get in the way is to arrest them. Talk about schools being a rail to jail for young black people.



  2. todd    Mon Mar 3, 12:21 PM #  

    Is there a campaign for justice for these kids? Any links?



  3. mad hatter    Mon Mar 3, 01:00 PM #  

    You know what makes me mad?

    The Herald and other media outlets are trying to make this into a case of police brutality. From the beginning, channel 7 has been broadcasting unverified reports from students (who made liberal use of every curse word in the lexicon on live TV) stating that this was in response to a Mr. Perez putting a student in a choke hold and that the police came in and beat a pregnant girl in her stomach with an ASP and that they used tasers, etc. I think that any adult with half a brain would immediately be able to tell that this is nothing more than a classic example of kids fabricating a story to justify their own misdeeds.

    While the claims of brutality are widely circulated, the response from officials stating that the student for whom the protest was being held had attacked a police officer and an assistant principal, leading to his arrest, and that no tasers or pepper spray were used. It’s also worth noting that Miami-Dade Schools Police don’t even carry tasers or pepper spray.

    Furthermore, the video from students inside the school corroborates the MDSPD version that officers used restraint, yet they keep harping on the sensational claims of students getting beat up for no reason. This is disgusting.

    You know why Edison is a perennial “F” school? You’re seeing it. Instead of parents getting together to find solutions; to discipline their children and get them to act like adults and calm things down, they turn around and throw more flames on the fire, make excuses for the inexcusable and give their kids the life lesson that if you’re pissed off it’s ok to throw bottles and chairs at police. The problem is not hard to pinpoint, it’s the culture of the community that fosters law breaking. If they want their situations to improve, they should start taking accountability for their actions.

    The complaints about the fact that so many police were called out are stupid. This incident started with four police officers in the cafteria to monitor what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. When 400 kids start pelting police officers with chairs, books, bottles, and basically anything that’s not bolted down, what do you expect police to do? They called for back-up. The officers on the radio weren’t saying: “Send me three units” or “Please send two cars and a K-9,” they were asking for anyone to come out and help restore order. Yes, there were students who had to be wrestled to the ground and officers had to push people out of the way, but that’s what was necessary at the time to restore order. If a kid is throwing a pizza at an officer, that kid needs to get arrested. If a kid is spitting at an officer, that kid deserves to be arrested.

    These scandalous stories about police beating a pregnant girl in the stomach and beating kids for no reason are nothing more than lies designed to shift the focus away from the real issue, which is that the kids were out of control and they need to be punished. In addition, the kids are now milking this for maximum effect in order to skip classes and get their faces on tv.

    Another interesting note, according to the Herald, there were only about 100 kids at the protest today. Edison is a school with several thousand students. If there had been such injustice, don’t you think that the entire school would have protested? This is nothing more than a vocal minority of thugs in the school who are mad that one of their own was punished and now they want to exact revenge. School officials should review CCTV camera footage to determine exactly who was throwing objects at police and otherwise misbehaving and take all of those students and throw them in opportunity school so that the real students can get back to their education.

    The worst part about this is that now you’re going to have a bunch of weak-knee’d politicians agreeing with the parents and calling for the State Attorney to drop charges and for police officers to be disciplined. Basically, these kids are going to learn that if they don’t like something all they need to do is start a riot, make up a wild story to justify it, with no regard for the truth, and they’ll get whatever they want. This is just like when a parent gives into their child when he or she throws a tantrum.

    I’m disgusted.



  4. keyrat    Mon Mar 3, 02:45 PM #  

    tl;nr

    I wonder what would have happened if instead of calling the police they would’ve just stood back until it was over. You think it would’ve been worse?



  5. l'elk!    Mon Mar 3, 02:55 PM #  

    seems to me a little bit of uncalled for behavior from both parties.



  6. Score one for the cops!    Mon Mar 3, 06:27 PM #  

    The police did everything short of shooting the little bastards, not to say that this in fact would be a bad thing. Edison is more of a prison then a school, based on it’s wonderful “inmates”.



  7. DJ_Kremlin    Mon Mar 3, 07:01 PM #  

    I agree with Mad Hatter 100%



  8. NicFitKid    Tue Mar 4, 05:07 AM #  

    This thread reads as if it were hijacked by Herald commentators.

    You know what’s much more interesting than your predictable outrage? That this incident has a myspace page, a website (with a particularly good post on the deficiencies of Edison’s administration), and a mention on Edison’s wikipedia entry.

    Oh, and by the way, in reference to this line:

    “…kids start pelting police officers with chairs, books, bottles, and basically anything that’s not bolted down…”

    The chairs in Edison’s cafeteria ARE bolted down. That kind of slip-up just highlights what happens when angry netizens condemn people they’ve never met and describe scenes that they’ve never witnessed.



  9. swampthing    Tue Mar 4, 06:52 AM #  

    I heard on AM 940 radio that the security cameras were turned OFF. Who pushed that button? No video would be convenient for anyone who wishes to hide the true behavior of those involved. DC public schools are autonomous entities, not subject to the usual rules. Our kids are thoroughly disrespected by society, there is no place for them to vent, participate, or enjoy.
    I went to school there, it was a different world back then.
    Mad-hatter sounds more like mad-hater.



  10. kenviro    Tue Mar 4, 09:22 AM #  

    Mad Hatter is so disingenuous it’s laughable. You’re sure “(t)hese scandalous stories about police beating a pregnant girl in the stomach and beating kids for no reason are nothing more than lies designed to shift the focus away from the real issue..” Really? What makes you sure? Let me surmise that you’re sure because of your preconceptions of these kids. They couldn’t possibly be victims right?

    The kids were upset about violent oppression by the VP (choking a student is never the way to discipline a student). So, during their protest, the police come in and by all accounts over react and escalate the protest into a riot. How much of this could any of you guys take before you react in exactly the same way as the kids? The fact that they are Haitian is not germane to this discussion and anyone who brings it up reveals their true reasons for blaming the kids. What a surprise, racism and bigotry in Miami.



  11. mad hatter    Tue Mar 4, 10:43 AM #  

    kenviro, you were there on Thursday and saw that student getting choked by the Asst. Principal? Have you read the incident report or the police report from that incident? Are you aware of the juvenile record of the student involved in the Thursday incident? If you are, then YOU are the one who is disingenuous.

    Now the police are to blame for starting a riot? Let’s see the police were the ones that ran in there and started beating people, including a pregnant girl, all unprovoked. That’s laughable! Listen, this isn’t Selma or Biloxi in the 50’s and the officers assigned to that school aren’t a bunch of racist crackers. Did you notice that the police officer who arrested the student on Thursday is a Haitian-American? I guess that doesn’t fit the racist conspiracy story line, so it was conveniently overlooked.

    By the way, NicFitKid, there are cafeteria tables that have the chairs attached to them, but those weren’t the only chairs in the Edison cafeteria. Despite the cynicism of some posters calling Edison a prison, the place is not designed like TGK with everything bolted down. Although after Friday that should be looked at.

    When the incident started, there were four officers in the cafeteria. Then, some trouble makers started throwing objects at the cops. As is bound to happen, some of those objects missed their intended targets and the people who got hit were not happy, thus starting the commotion. Four officers alone are powerless in that type of situation and they properly requested back-up. You all weren’t privy to the communications on the InterCity law enforcement frequency, but the officers on the scene were frantically calling for back-up from ANYBODY in the area. It was a mad house. The job of police is to come in with a show of force and restore order, and that’s what they did.

    If the kids wanted respect and cooperation, they shouldn’t have started throwing things. By the way, the kids themselves have admitted to throwing all sorts of objects during the melee. The kids started the incident. The police ended it.

    The claims of outrageous brutality (beating a pregnant girl in the stomach with an ASP is outrageous) are nothing more than the classic tales spun by kids to justify their misdeeds after they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar (and thereafter throwing the cookies). Sure, some kids got wrestled to the ground, some were pushed out of the way, some were tackled, but that’s what was necessary to apprehend the offenders and restore order.

    I’m curious, where are the pictures of the students with their bloodied faces or extensive bruises after the beatings administered by police. Where is that pregnant girl who got beaten in the stomach? Did she lose the baby? What’s her status? Why haven’t we heard more from her? There was a girl on the news who claimed that a police officer put a boot to her neck to hold her down. Where was the boot print? Where were the scratches? A boot to the neck leaves a mark, no matter how gently the boot is applied, curiously, this girl had no marks.

    Forget it, though, trying to reason with some of you is like trying to get an evangelical to understand evolution.

    Let’s get rid of the police, let’s empty our prisons, do away with laws and let everyone do whatever they want. One question: when someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night and tries to hurt you or your family inside the house, what are you going to do? Don’t call the police, because you don’t want to aggravate the offender and start a riot.



  12. Jorge    Tue Mar 4, 10:58 AM #  

    Demands? Since when to students, kids for christsake, make demands? If they would just sit in class and learn and keep their pieholes shut there woudn’t be a problem. Quit standing up for the students, you sound like one of the parents of these animals. Let me give you some words of wisdom. These kids are done…d…o…..n…..e….. There is no rehabilitation at this point. THe parents never did their job in raising them, you can’t expect the school or the police to do it for them. At this point…it’s on to the slammer, where bubba will deal with the. Jeezz, what is this world coming to when we take the side of these criminal juveniles. WOW. OUT. VIVA the mad hatter!!!!



  13. Robert    Tue Mar 4, 11:48 AM #  

    Too bad the same fervor and intensity demonstrated by the parents and students to denounce the actions of police and school administrators isn’t being applied to teaching personal responsibility and respect for authority.

    Wait. What was I thinking? I’m starting to sound like someone who thinks that students are in school to learn, not to throw objects at authority and get defended by their peers and parents. It starts and ends with the environment these people are surrounded by. If that sounds harsh, then so be it. When is personal accountability and respect going to trump “justice”, especially when students’ claims are dubious at best.

    Mad Hatter, keep on preaching.



  14. alesh    Tue Mar 4, 12:09 PM #  

    Wow… Mad Hatter makes some valid points, but overall I’d say you people have REALLY gone off the deep end.

    Of course some of the kids got out of hand, it’s frigging high school. Criticizing the whole group, who attempted to hold a peaceful protest in response to (alleged, but certainly PLAUSIBLE) misconduct by the vice principal, is just crazy.

    Violent behavior (and throwing food in a high school cafeteria just BARELY counts as violence) by a small number of kids does NOT justify a violent reaction against the whole lot of them.



  15. mad hatter    Tue Mar 4, 12:51 PM #  

    alesh, I agree with you, to an extent.

    Let’s take a step back. Not all of the kids at Edison were taking part in this, and even less are taking part in the protests. The Friday incident took place during the first lunch period at 11:30 a.m. and there were approximately 400 kids in ths cafeteria. Yesterday’s protest drew about 100 students.

    Of the 400, about 24 (give or take a few) were arrested, so it certainly wasn’t the case that everyone was arrested.

    The violent behavior, though, goes beyond simply throwing food and other objects. Once they got riled up, kids were bumping against each other, there was pushing and shoving, puches were thrown, etc. You know how things quickly amp up from one second to the next in these types of situations.

    Police did not go in there guns ablaze and ASPs-a-swinging to hit anything in sight and the arrests show that. There weren’t 400 arrests, or even 40 arrests. There were less than 30 arrests of students in the cafeteria, that equates to about 7% of the people inside the cafeteria. The police responded to a situation that was out of hand and the only way to respond, the way that all law enforcement agencies are trained to respond to those situations is through a show of force.

    The kids were intimidated? That’s how they were supposed to feel; that’s done intentionally to get everyone back in line. How do you think the four officers felt when they were suddenly outnumbered 100 to 1 by an angry mob that was pelting them with objects and getting more riled up? What about the officers that were taken to the hospital, did they get injured on their own? Did their fellow officers beat them too? No, it was chaos in there and there were some kids who took advantage of the situation. Those kids were arrested for violating the law.

    Sure, now everyone turns around and says: “It wasn’t me, I was just standing by, minding my own business.” If we took everyone who said that at his or her word, the bottles, milk cartons, trays, etc. just spontaneously started flying through the air and this was all a “misunderstanding.”

    That’s not quite the way it happened.

    Actions have consequences, and those who decided to misbehave and violate State Statutes must now pay the consequences (I hope).



  16. kingofrance    Tue Mar 4, 01:05 PM #  

    still haven’t heard much about the non-students who were arrested Friday for passing out fliers while standing on the sidewalk.



  17. joel    Tue Mar 4, 01:41 PM #  

    Forget it, though, trying to reason with some of you is like trying to get an evangelical to understand evolution.
    no need to be so harsh, amigo… ;) you might want to fine tune your generalization.



  18. mae    Tue Mar 4, 05:25 PM #  

    3 things

    1. Three white 20somethings were arrested. I happen to know them and according to them, the arresting police told them they were arrested because “white people aren’t supposed to be here” and also that they were a “waste of white men”. i kid you not. they were kept in jail for the night and were let go.

    2. edisonriot.com was definitely started by the police. theres no fucking way an edison kid made it if you look at the way its written. the myspace may also have been started by the police. i think they started it to get all evidence that could be used against them.

    3. kids should never be treated like that in school. have you ever spent a significant amount of time with a 14-17 year old? THEY“RE ASSHOLES! but you don’t beat them and put them in jail, unless you don’t think their fully human.



  19. Jorge    Tue Mar 4, 05:44 PM #  

    Mae, I think you deserve a beatin yourself. Sounds like you need a dose of reality.
    Update: these aren’t your typical 14-17 year olds, dummy!



  20. DJ_Kremlin    Tue Mar 4, 10:32 PM #  

    Jorge is right, these “kids”, most of them anyway, already have extensive criminal records. Edison should be renamed to “Future Inmates of America”.



  21. mad hatter    Wed Mar 5, 09:40 AM #  

    Mae,

    How convenient, “three white twentysomethings” who you know personally were arrested and the police made racist comments. Sure. By the way, Al Sharpton called, he wants his race card back.

    Kids should never be treated like that? How about: kids should never behave like that! We all know that kids go through the “rebellious” stage, but it’s up to adults to keep them in check and let them know when they’ve crossed the line. On Friday, they obliterated the line and now they have to pay the consequences.

    If those “concerned parents” really want to help their kids become productive citizens they’ll stop moaning, take them home and give them a hard earned wood shampoo.



  22. mae    Wed Mar 5, 11:14 AM #  

    Is it so inconcievable that white police would make racist comments?

    I think DJ Kremlin said it, Edison doesn’t need to be renamed futrue inmates of America. It is a school that is already treated like a prison and students are already treated like inmates. And you think that thats a good thing?

    Also, its difficult to talk about racism, when everytime its brought up its accused of being “the race card” so I’m not sure what else to really say about it. I can just tell you this. I went to school at Miami Beach Senior High. There were all kinds of kids there that did all kinds of stupid, violent, immature, rebellious things. We NEVER would have been treated that way, not just becuase of the racial make-up of the school, but also because of the community its situated in.



  23. Jorge    Wed Mar 5, 11:34 AM #  

    mae,
    You don’t get it because you said it yourself, you went to beach high. Spend one week as a substitute teacher at Edison High and you will changer your liberal views. Your the typical liberal who just didn’t get enough attention in high school. awwww, please don’t hurt dem kids!



  24. mad hatter    Wed Mar 5, 12:59 PM #  

    Mae,

    The more interesting question is what were three white 20somethings doing on the Edison campus at that time, and in the middle of the fracas?

    Wasn’t this a student-led, peaceful protest of an incident that occurred the previous day involving another Edison student? Why, then, were three white 20somethings be taking part?

    This didn’t take place at a park or at a public gathering place, it was in the cafeteria of a school in the middle of the school day. There are restrictions on who can and cannot be inside a school (even a public one) during the school day.

    I seriously doubt that those three people actually exist, but if they do, and if they were arrested, it was probably for tresspas after warning, and they, too, deserved to spend the night acquainting themselves with their Red Raider buddies overnight.

    The idea that the reaction from police was a racist one is completely off base. The reaction would have been the same if the indcident would have happened at Braddock, Coral Gables, or Krop. Cops don’t beat black offenders and let white ones go. If you’re breaking the law, be you black, white, yellow, you’re going to pay the price.



  25. l'elk!    Wed Mar 5, 01:16 PM #  

    man, some of you can sure go on and on about something that you did not even personally witness. even polarizing the subject by directing full blame to one particular party because the opposing parties predicament is easier for you to relate to.

    ohhh the games we play



  26. po'd PO    Wed Mar 5, 02:11 PM #  

    This is what the assistant principal should’ve been carrying when he came upon the wayward student…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D99NHb6B03s



  27. kingofrance    Wed Mar 5, 02:52 PM #  

    Hatter, the three were on the sidewalk outside the school,not on school grounds. The police used the “buffer zone” concept as the basis for their arrest as they were not trespassing.



  28. anonymous    Wed Mar 5, 06:04 PM #  

    kingo, you mean the “School Safety Zone”. So why were they there in the middle of all this?



  29. mae    Thu Mar 6, 09:33 AM #  

    they went after the police had begun arresting students, to help pass out flyers for power u about helping the students hold a meeting to organize themselves in a more effective way. in general, if students were taught to organize themselves, they would be able to have a more effective voice in the way their school runs, instead of just getting so angry that they act out. they started the first steps of organizing , by having the peaceful protest.

    jorge, i think you bring up an important credibility question- what do i, from miami beach know about edison? fortunatly, ive been lucky enough, through my work, to spend a lot of time with kids from overtown, liberty city, carol city outside of school, in youth group settings. i’ve seen them in an environment where they’re respected, cared for and listened to. i’ve seen how they change when they leave those school gates and walk into a supportive space.

    i live with a 15 year old from overtown who has trouble in school. he’s a great kid, a little bratty sometimes, but he isn’t an animal.

    the point is, maybe its time to take a harder look at a system that isn’t respectful, loving or caring to young black people. instead of writing off all the students at edison, maybe we should write off the system that encourages us to write off a whole generation of black kids.



  30. mad hatter    Thu Mar 6, 11:37 AM #  

    mae,

    Yeah, the guys from Power U seem to have an agenda all their own. See this morning’s column by Fred Grimm in the Miami Herald. I’d take their claims of racism with a grain of salt.

    I don’t think anybody’s written off ALL of the Edison students. After all, the WHOLE school wasn’t starting fights, throwing objects and otherwise breaking the law.

    A lot of resources have been poured into Edison to improve the climate. From what I know first hand, I can tell you that one of the biggest sticking points is that students are being held accountable for their actions. Previously, since Edison was viewed as nothing more than a temporary storage space for kids, they were allowed to do whatever they wanted; skip class, run around, come and go as they pleased, etc. When the good times stopped and administrators and teachers were brought in to actually run the place like a school, forcing kids to be in class, be on time, listen in class, not be disruptive, etc. some students didn’t appreciate the infringement on their “right” to do whatever they want to do. Thus, the tension at Edison.

    Does anyone remember an incident that occurred in 1998 at Killian High School where a group of 9 students made a pamphlet threatening to kill the principal and poke out the eyeballs of certain students with a fork? Those students were arrested. However, because it was the pre-Colombine era, there was an outcry and people said that the students were just “kidding around” and that the pamphlet was “satire”, so the charges were dropped. This incident happened in a predominantly white school in a nice neighborhood, so for those of you who think that the black kids are being punished more harshly than if they had been white kids, you have you answer with the Killian 9.



  31. mae    Thu Mar 6, 02:14 PM #  

    The negative article in today’s paper about Power U exposes Power U’s agenda. They are also very clear about their agenda- restorative justice in the schools, which might also help answer the problems you just wrote about. They’ve been working on it for over a year and its incidences like this that show us why. Is that such an evil agenda?

    And not to dwell, but naming white kids 10 years ago who got in trouble for threatening to kill a principal right after Columbine is a totally ungrounded comparison. The Edison kids were engaged in a peaceful protest and were beaten and arrested by cops in a highly militarized school setting.



  32. Jorge    Thu Mar 6, 04:48 PM #  

    Edison is highly militarized? You obviously haven’t been in a public school.

    Also, I think the hatter was using the Killian incident to show that even white kids get arrested. I don’t know much about it, but “pre-Colombine” usually means before Colombine, open your brain!



  33. mae    Thu Mar 6, 05:44 PM #  

    “Multiple police departments, including city of Miami police, Miami-Dade police and Miami School Board police were called to the school around 11 a.m., some in riot gear and some with K-9 units after school board police requested backup.”
    http://www.local10.com/news/15449324/detail.html

    watch the clip from NBC. it all looks and sounds like a war zone to me.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=FI9Fucd_Bf0

    and im spent…



  34. mad hatter    Thu Mar 6, 11:00 PM #  

    Mae,

    What don’t you understand?????? I’ll refrain from using the “war” analogies, but it was a chaotic scene. Police had to respond and restore order. Police officers are not there for the warm and fuzzies, they’re there to clean house after the warm and fuzzies failed.

    Note your own post: “…after school board police requested backup.” The MDSPD officers did not get on the radio and say, “hey, if anyone’s in the area and they want to beat some black kids, come on down to Edison.” THEY REQUESTED BACKUP, which meant that the four officers that were in there were being OVERPOWERED. 400 students to 4 officers, I wonder who has the advantage. I wonder who’s more intimidating?

    The students were traumatized and humiliated because the police “stormed in with dogs and riot gear”? Puh-leeez! If that were Coral Gables, I might believe that angle. But as the student videographer so eloquently put it: “‘dis da ‘hood, YO! You in da ‘hood!” Those “kids” were as traumatized by the dogs as I was after squishing a cockroach with my boot. That whole story about the kids being so “sensitive” is the biggest crock of sh@t. If they were so afraid of the pO-lice then they shouldn’t have started throwing stuff at them in the first place.