I only got the first page of the article (top thread), the whole article reveals more.
Shaquanda was already on mind altering drugs which may (or may not, its not uncommon for a kid to be impulsive) contributed to her burst of temper when she pushed the school staff member, and in prison she started self harming and attempted suicide by strangling herself. Putting kids on drugs is obviously very damaging to them, and a year in prison, particularly where it appears the children are abused, has added to that damage.
Fire the Judge AND fire the psych or GP that diagnosed her as needing mind altering drugs. How can adults be SO CRUEL to children?
Here's the whole of the article:
"THE fairgrounds in this small east Texas town look ordinary enough, like so many other well-worn county fair sites across the nation. Unless you know the history of the place.
Several of the most notorious public lynchings of black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds, where thousands of white spectators would gather to watch and cheer as black men were dragged onto a scaffold, scalded with hot irons and finally burned to death or hanged.
Brenda Cherry, a local civil rights activist, can see the fairgrounds from the front yard of her modest home, in the heart of the "black" side of this starkly segregated town of 26,000. And lately, Ms Cherry says, she's begun to wonder whether the racist legacy of those lynchings is rebounding in a place that calls itself "the best small town in Texas".
"Some of the things that happen here would not happen if we were in Dallas or Houston," Ms Cherry said. "They happen because we are in this closed town. I compare it to 1930s."
There was the 19-year-old white man, convicted in July of criminally negligent homicide for killing a 54-year-old black woman and her three-year-old grandson with his truck, who was sentenced in Paris to probation and required to send an annual Christmas card to the victims' family.
There are the Paris public schools, which are under investigation by the US Education Department after repeated complaints that administrators discipline black students more frequently, and more harshly, than white students.
And then there is the case that most troubles Ms Cherry and leaders of the Texas National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People involving a 14-year-old black student, Cotton, who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun. She had no prior arrest record and the hall monitor — a 58-year-old teacher's aide — was not seriously injured.
But Shaquanda was tried in March last year in the town's juvenile court, convicted of "assault on a public servant" and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison until she turns 21.
Just three months earlier, the same judge sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of burning down her family's house, to probation.
"All Shaquanda did was grab somebody and she will be in jail for five or six years?" said Gary Bledsoe, an Austin lawyer who is president of the state branch of the NAACP.
"It's like they are sending a signal to black folks in Paris that you stay in your place in this community, in the shadows, intimidated."
None of the officials involved in Shaquanda's case, including the prosecutor, the judge and Paris school district administrators, would agree to speak about their handling of it, citing a court appeal under way.
But the teen's defenders assert that long before the September 2005 shoving incident, Paris school officials singled out Shaquanda for scrutiny because her mother had frequently accused school officials of racism.
"Shaquanda started getting written up a lot after her mother became involved in a protest march in front of a school," said Sharon Reynerson, a lawyer with Lone Star Legal Aid, who has represented Shaquanda during challenges to several of the disciplinary citations she received.
"Some of the write-ups weren't fair to her or accurate, so we felt like we had to challenge each one to get the whole story." Among the write-ups, said Ms Reynerson, were citations for wearing a skirt that was an inch too short, pouring too much paint into a cup during art class and defacing a desk that school officials later conceded bore no signs of damage.
Shaquanda's mother, Creola Cotton, does not dispute that her daughter can behave impulsively and was sometimes guilty of tardiness or speaking out of turn at school — behaviour that she said were manifestations of Shaquanda's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which the teen was taking prescription medication.
Nor does Shaquanda deny that she pushed the hall monitor after the teacher's aide refused her permission to enter the school before the morning bell — although Shaquanda maintains that she was supposed to have been allowed to visit the school nurse to take her medication, and that the teacher's aide pushed her first.
But Ms Cherry alleges that Shaquanda's frequent disciplinary write-ups, and the insistence of school officials at her trial that she deserved prison rather than probation, fits a larger pattern of systemic discrimination against black students in the Paris Independent School District.
In the past five years, black parents have filed at least a dozen discrimination complaints against the school district with the federal Education Department, asserting that their children, who constitute 40 per cent of the district's nearly 4000 students, were singled out for excessive discipline.
A solicitor for the school district, Dennis Eichelbaum, said the Education Department had determined all of the complaints to be unfounded.
"The (department) has explained that the school district has not and does not discriminate, that the school district has been a leader and very progressive when it comes to race relations, and that there was no validity to the allegations made by the complainants," Mr Eichelbaum said.
But the federal investigations of the school district are not so clear-cut, and they are not finished.
In one 2004 finding, Education Department officials determined that black students at a Paris middle school were being written up for disciplinary infractions more than twice as often as white students — and eight times as often for "class disruption".
The Education Department asked the US Justice Department to try to mediate disputes between black parents and the district, but school officials pulled out of the process in December before it was concluded.
And last April, the Education Department notified Paris school officials that it was opening a new, comprehensive review. That investigation is still in progress.
According to one veteran Paris teacher, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, such discrimination is widespread. "There is a philosophy of giving white kids a break and coming down on black kids," said the teacher, who is white.
Not everyone in Paris agrees, however, that blacks are treated unfairly by the city's institutions.
"I've lived here all my life, and I don't see that," said Mary Ann Reed Fisher, one of two black members of the Paris City Council. "My kids went to Paris High School, and they never had one minute of a problem with the school system, the courts or the police."
Meanwhile Shaquanda, a first-time offender, remains something of an anomaly in the Texas Youth Commission prison system, where officials say 95 per cent of the 2500 juveniles in their custody are chronic, serious offenders who already have exhausted county-level programs such as probation and local treatment or detention.
Inside the youth prison in Brownwood where she has been for the past 10 months Shaquanda, now aged 15, says she has not been doing well.
Three times she has tried to injure herself, first by scratching her face, then by cutting her arm. The last time, she copied a method she saw another young inmate try, knotting a sweater around her neck and yanking it tight so she couldn't breathe.
She tried to harm herself, she said, out of depression, desperation and fear of the hardened young thieves, robbers, sex offenders and parole violators all around whom she must try to avoid each day.
"Sometimes I feel like I just can't do this no more — that I can't survive this," Shaquanda said."