Thursday, December 5th, 2013
The mother of a former high school football player in Lunenberg, Massachusetts is a suspect in an incident in which racist slurs were scrawled on her home. The episode prompted school officials to cancel the rest of the football season when it was believed that fellow players may have committed what was called a “hate crime.” Fox Sports has more on the new developments:
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According to the Boston Globe, Lunenburg (Mass.) police and the FBI questioned Andrea Brazier on Nov. 25 about the offensive messages spray painted on her home. 13-year-old Isaac Phillips, Brazier’s son, is half-black and was believed to be the target of the graffiti, which was discovered on Nov. 15 and included the phrase “Knights don’t need n——!”
Brazier previously told police that Phillips had been harassed by teammates on the Lunenburg High School football team, and the initial thought was that the writing was the handiwork of those players. But the players were later cleared, and police then began to pursue other suspects.
The court records obtained by the Boston Globe included an affidavit that detailed Brazier’s conversation with investigators on Nov. 25. During the interview, Brazier reportedly stated that neither her husband, Anthony J. Phillips, nor her son were responsible for the graffiti. However, Brazier also reportedly pushed for the investigation into the matter to end.
“Andrea stated ‘OK,’” the affidavit said, according to the Globe. “Andrea just kept answering ‘OK’ and that she wanted everything to end and that we did not understand.”
After the meeting with Brazier, police received a warrant to search Brazier’s home, which they executed Tuesday.
During the search, the Globe reports, police found a can of Krylon indoor/outdoor spray paint, as well as a can of Krylon Fusion spray paint, which is generally used on plastic — however, it is unknown what color those paints were or whether they could have been used in the crime.
During a previous visit to Brazier’s home on Nov. 18, police also observed two burnt aerosol cans in a fire pit outside the home. According to the Globe’s report, police were given three different accounts of where those cans came from at the time.
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Schools across the country are taking a fresh look at “zero tolerance” policies that enforce suspensions and expulsions if students are guilty of infractions–sometimes minor ones, others that have resulted in an arrest. Critics of the policies say they most affect minority students who are already at greater risk of performing poorly in school or dropping out altogether. More from The New York Times:
Perhaps nowhere has the shift been more pronounced than in Broward County’s public schools. Two years ago, the school district achieved an ignominious Florida record: More students were arrested on school campuses here than in any other state district, the vast majority for misdemeanors like possessing marijuana or spraying graffiti.
The Florida district, the sixth largest in the nation, was far from an outlier. In the past two decades, schools around the country have seen suspensions, expulsions and arrests for minor nonviolent offenses climb together with the number of police officers stationed at schools. The policy, called zero tolerance, first grew out of the war on drugs in the 1990s and became more aggressive in the wake of school shootings like the one at Columbine High School in Colorado.
But in November, Broward veered in a different direction, joining other large school districts, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago and Denver, in backing away from the get-tough approach.
Rather than push children out of school, districts like Broward are now doing the opposite: choosing to keep lawbreaking students in school, away from trouble on the streets, and offering them counseling and other assistance aimed at changing behavior.
These alternative efforts are increasingly supported, sometimes even led, by state juvenile justice directors, judges and police officers.
Image: School lockers, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Officials at the high school in Lunenburg, Massachusetts have cancelled the remainder of its football season in the wake of an incident in which racially charged graffiti was sprayed onto the home of the team’s only black player. More from NBC News:
Lunenburg, Mass., School Superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes announced Monday that the “remaining football games of the season have been forfeited” — including the traditional Thanksgiving Day game — because of “racial harassment investigations.”
Racial slurs, including the N-word, were found Friday spray-painted on the foundation of the home of freshman and junior varsity athlete Isaac Phillips, 13 — the only black player on the Lunenburg Blue Knights football team, according to NBC affiliate WHDH. Isaac’s father is black and his mother is white, according to the Associated Press.
Anthony J. Phillips, Isaac’s father, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he is angry at Lunenburg officials who allegedly concealed racist remarks made by numerous Lunenburg football players during games.
“This is a few bad kids and the coaches are letting them do anything they want to do,” the father told the newspaper.
At a news conference Monday, Calmes thanked locals for gathering at a vigil Sunday night and standing behind Phillips and his family, who she said were victims of an “act of hate.”
Image: Football, via Shutterstock
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Monday, August 6th, 2012
A 4-year-old Virginia girl’s chalk drawings on rocks at a park near her Richmond, Virginia home have earned her mother a ticket for vandalism and a punishment of 50 hours of community service, news sources are reporting. The Belle Isle city park had reportedly recently been vandalized with graffiti, which prompted police to give 29-year-old Susan Mortensen a ticket for her daughter’s drawings. From NBC 12, the Richmond station:
Outside the courthouse, people support Susan Mortensen with their own chalk on the sidewalk. However, in court, the officer who reprimanded her back in March says she responded with an attitude and curse words.
“I don’t think I should comment on that,” said Mortensen after the trial. I agree that the outcome is something I would agree with and I thought it would help as far as doing community service.”
Mortensen has since then apologized. She’s agreed to complete 50 hours of community service through the James River Park System.
Mortensen will have to paint about 200 boundary posts west and east of the Boulevard Bridge. Before she even starts, she’ll have to scrape off the old paint and remove surrounding weeds. It’s vital to finish the project before the weather gets too cold for the paint to stick.
The parks manager says he’d like to set a date before Thanksgiving. Mortensen’s supporters say they’re still upset she was charged for letting her daughter draw on the rocks. Police and park leaders say chalk is the same as graffiti.
Image: Sidewalk chalk, via Shutterstock.
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