Saturday, June 20, 2015

Civil Rights Violations in the Brockton School District Pt. 2

In March The Fact She3t covered a case in which students, parents, and community members voiced their concerns over Brockton High School's disciplinary actions, particularly students of color. In the piece "Brockon's School-to-Prison Pipeline", we mentioned a set of parents testifying before the school committee about the violations of their children's rights. One of those parents, Michael Dockery, has penned a letter to the US Department of Justice in hopes that justice for his son will be served.

In the three part series The Fact She3t will publish segments of the letter. Mr. Dockery's hope is that with sharing these stories of his son and others he can "make a difference for these young kids. Too many families and kids have been hurt by these people's actions," because, "the more adults and kids that know about these issues the better." (You can read the other segments here)


Story Two

Two students were fighting, and when the teacher that was in the class lost control of the situation she ran into a corner and started screaming for help. A black student, who was 14 years old at the time of the incident, happened to be in the outside locker area at the time. He heard her screaming and ran in the room to assist her. Once the situation had calmed down and everyone went home, the parent of the student that was helping the teacher break the fight up received a call from the school principal stating that their son would be suspended indefinitely. The principal, the classroom teacher, and the school police conspired together to change the story of how the incident happened and filed two charges against the young kid, assault and battery and assault and battery with dangerous weapon criminal charges against the young kid. The parents protested because there were 11 witness statements from teachers and students that stated their son was the one helping the inexperienced teacher break up the fight.

A. Although the parents pleaded with the school administrators the school still took the 14 year old kid to juvenile court. The parents told the Plymouth County Clerk Magistrate about the incident and the witness statements but the Clerk refused to enter it into evidence, refused to record the court session, and chastised the child and his parent for not being responsible citizens and put the child on one year probation.

B. After 18 days without schooling and being at home the kid was let back into school, but only with an adult supervised escort to go between his classes and the bathroom.

C. This was the first issue this young kid ever had within the school, He was known as a good kid and very responsible. The actions of the school principal, teacher, school police and clerk magistrate violated his due process rights, federal, and state laws and also the basic school handbook policy.

D. The family is still very upset because they had to take their mortgage money to defend their son when all these charges were not true, and they feared losing their son and their home.

E. Within the same school and the same school year their son witnessed several white kids fighting and the most those students received for fighting were two to three days in house school suspension.

Story Three

This school year 2014-2015, in Brockton High, several ethnic kids were accused of taking things from a locker area. The school administrator claimed to have told the parents of all the kids that were accused that their kids were caught on video taking properties that didn’t belong to them. Consequently, they were thrown out of the school and criminal charges were also filed for theft and trespassing. One of the parents, distraught and scared for her child and his education, allowed the school police and the Brockton police to enter her house without a search warrant to show that her son did not take anything and on the guise that her son would be let back in the school from the indefinite suspension if nothing was found, but the school administrator and the school police deceived her. They still didn’t allow the child to continue his education at Brockton high.

A. All three of the young men were kicked out of Brockton High without proper due process or being found guilty of anything.

B. All three kids were sent to an alternative school, where they were too advanced for the curriculum, so one of the kid stays home depressed and take classes from home.

C. Several of the kids tried to transfer to other schools in the town, but the way the Brockton School Administrator wrote up the paperwork basically made it seem as if these kids had a criminal record, they were not admitted to the other public schools. Not only that Brockton Public School controls all the public school in the district, so the only true choice any of the kids or the parents had was by the Brockton Public School System.

D. One mother has spent over $6,000 to defend her son in court so he doesn’t get a criminal record. Every time she goes to court she has to pay her lawyer and the Brockton Public School and the Police have yet to bring the video tape to court, and the Clerk Magistrate allow them to continue although the mother and her attorney keep asking for the tape and justice.

Story Four

There was a top athlete, a young black man 16 years old at the time, that played football for Brockton High. He's about 6”4 280 lbs., could have easily played for a Division 1 or 2 college football team. This young man had poor study habits, but always did good on his tests. He needed some tutoring and good study skills to make him stay focused, but one of his teachers and the school administrators convinced him and his parents that he would be better off going to the Champion Alternative school for six months to get his focus together then he could come back to Brockton High with a fresh start. On his junior year he tried to return to Brockton High because he was a good student and athlete, and hardly been in any trouble except for homework, he was told by the school administrator “Brockton High School is not a revolving door school, once you make your choice you have to live with it”. This young man and his parents were upset but they dealt with it.

One day while at the Alternative School his nose started to bleed because the room was too hot, so he asks the teacher could he go to the window so he could get some clean air she said yes in front of witnesses, so he stood in front of the window. The school principal walked by the class and saw him standing by the window and started yelling at him, without know the facts. The teacher didn’t say anything to the principal, although she was the one that gave permission. So the young man tried to explain the situation to the principal, who thought the kid was talking back and questioning his authority, suspended the kid for 1 day. The one day then turned to 10 days suspension, after the 10 days an unfair due process hearing was made. The young man was kicked out of the Brockton School System entirely. Since the Brockton Public School System controlled all the school in the district, the school administrators and the principal made it so he could not go to any school within the district, and put things in his school record, so that he would be labeled as a bad kid.

A. This young man had good grades and did well on the MCAS, but could not go to any other school because the principal did everything in his power to railroad the kid. Since Brockton Public School controls all the public school in the district the young man had to leave the district and go live with his extended family in Boston to insure that he graduated from high school.

B. This young man claimed he has seen school administrators from both Champion alternative charter School and the Brockton public School allowing and giving breaks to white kids who have been caught selling drugs or using drugs, multiple opportunities to return back to the high school once the administrators see fit, but overly pursue and punish the Cape Verdeans, Haitians and Black kids.

C. This young man is still bothered by the actions of the adults at the schools, but his grades and his behavior didn’t have anything to do with the excessive mistreatment he encountered, and he offered friends and old teachers from both schools as proof.

Story Five

This school year 2014-2015, at Brockton High School, two white students were playing a card game in school. One of the students got mad at the other one and they started fighting. One of the white students grabbed and put the other kid in a headlock and choked him out until the other student passed out, they had to break the fight up and revived the other kid. The white student which choked out the other kid was only given 5 days in house suspension.
A. Based on the equal protection under the law that student should have been charged with a crime as the other ethnic students, or worse attempted murder.

B. The school administrators overlooked the critical factor that the other student could have suffered brain damage or a seizure.

Story Six

Twitter Beef… Several young ladies in the high school were having disagreements amongst each other. Normally when a school administrator finds out about an issue with students regarding a Facebook or Twitter bullying, especially when it involves minorities, all the students involved are either suspended or given demerits, but in one particular instance, although a certain twitter argument revolved around some black students, the school administrator did not punish anyone in the incident. Upon investigating the matter he found out it was a young white female that instigated the whole issue of bullying and name calling.

Story Seven

This school year 2014-2015, at Brockton High School, over 1,000 students at Brockton High School signed a petition stating that the Demerit system was unfair. They said it targets minorities or sometimes applied subjectively by the teachers and administrator to certain students that they do not like. This petition was taken to the principal, superintendent of schools and the school committee, but none of the government workers who are paid to administer the students have made any positive efforts to resolve the underlying unfairness in the student’s complaints. Out of frustrations the students rallied and staged a walkout that was reported by the local newspaper. The school committee has yet to resolve the issues in the demerit system.

Story Eight

Two Kids were fighting one black the other white the whole incident was witnessed by teacher and students. Upon talking to the students and teachers, witness statements were made, all the witnesses stated the black student was doing his work and the white student keep on bullying and provoking the other student and the white kid was the one that hit the other student first. Both parents were called into school after the suspension of the students. Upon school suspension reinstatement, the black student was asked to sign a contract stating that if he got into any more fights within the school year he would be automatically kicked out of Brockton high and put into an alternative school, the white kid was not given that same contract at all. The parent of the ethnic student refused to sign the unfair contract because it was the white kid that started the whole incident and the parent thought the contract was racially unjust.

Story Nine

This school year 2014-2015, a brother and a sister who are black students at Brockton High were arguing amongst themselves regarding home chores, a school administrator didn’t like the fact that they were having a discussion on school grounds and suspended the brother and gave the sister demerits. The brother and sister thought the punishment was excessive because they have seen the white kids do worst things and receive no demerits or punishments for their actions.

Story Ten

This school year 2014-2015, at Brockton High School, another case involved an ethnic mother that has a daughter with a disability. She was transferred to a lower class because she had one complaint against her. The same student has the ability to do advanced math, but yet she was sent to a lower class which is frustrating to the mother and her daughter. The daughter is questioning why she’s being punished so severely for one outburst when the other white students have outburst on a weekly or monthly basis.

Story Eleven

This school year 2014-2015, A Brockton High Peer Mediator who just happens to be black was resolving a dispute in school with two other students who happened to be black. The kids could not resolve their differences, so they got into a fight. The peer mediator was in the middle trying to break up the fight, when the hall teacher intervened, all three students were suspended from school although the other two student told the administrator that the peer mediator was only involved because he was trying to break up the fight.

Story Twelve

Many Peer Mediators and students have told me that they try their best to resolve students' issues with each other before it gets out of hand, or before the administration finds out about it, because the people in charge don’t really care about the ethnic students and they are quick to suspend them. The Peers Mediators further state that “most of us kids come from single parent households or two hardworking parent households and once we get suspended it messes up our school work and we have to play catchup. But not only that, some kids will miss two of their meals from not being in school each day, therefore they do their best to resolve their issues while the white kids gets away with worse things.”

Story Thirteen

This school year 2014-2015, at Brockton High School, the last case involved a young black male who is a junior and works after school at a part-time job. He said before his last period in school he rushes to his locker to get his uniform to get ready for his job. Sometimes he is one or two minutes late to his last class of the day, but he explained to the teacher and the administrator the reason why he is late sometimes because he has to run all the way from one side of the Brockton High building to the other side, then grab his uniform in the process. Not only is that better for him to grab his work uniform ahead of time instead of after school because if he misses the bus he will be over an hour late to work, he also needs the job to help his mother pay the bills. The student said instead of the teacher or the administrator understanding his situation, they keep adding on demerits to his school record, while other kids who have done worse things or come to class late get a pass for their bad behavior.

This followed the first part of the letter and will be followed by the final part of the letter. Please share the letter to bring more attention to the problems addressed in it.

This was written by Michael Dockery, 617-212-8141,
Arranged by E. Rey

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