Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jena High School bans T-shirts supporting black students accused of beating white schoolmate

(AP) - JENA, Louisiana-Officials at a Louisiana high school have banned T-shirts supporting six black students accused of beating of a white schoolmate, saying the shirts are too disruptive.
The six students were charged with attempted murder, which has led to outrage in the black community and drawn attention from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is monitoring the cases.

Racial tensions surfaced last fall when students found three nooses hanging from a tree on campus that a black student had tried to sit under. Three white students were suspended, but no criminal charges were filed.
About nine students at Jena High School wore the "Free the Jena 6" T-shirts Tuesday, and the slogan caused too much commotion on campus, said LaSalle Parish Schools Superintendent Roy Breithaupt said.
John Jenkins said his three daughters wore the shirts to make a statement, not to cause trouble.
"They weren't doing anything other than wearing the shirts," Jenkins said. "The school doesn't have a dress code. They were covered. They're trying to tell them what they can and can't wear."
His son, Carwin Jones, is one of the six students charged in the December 2006 beating of 18-year-old Justin Barker. Barker was treated for a swollen and cut face and released the same day.
One of the students, Mychal Bell, 17, was convicted on a reduced charge of aggravated second-degree battery and faces up to 22 years in prison. The other five teens are awaiting trial on attempted murder and conspiracy charges.

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