Centennial students, teachers organize 'die-in'

Centennial students, teachers organize 'die-in'

Updated 5:30 p.m. Friday

Statement from Superintendent Judy Wiegand, issued at 5:20 p.m. Friday by the Champaign school district:

Yesterday, students at Centennial High School approached school administration regarding their plan to have a peaceful protest to share their views on the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.   We understand that these issues are the topic of national discussion and, as educators, our intent is to provide a space where issues such as these can be discussed and all viewpoints can be shared respectfully.  Our schools are safe places where students are encouraged to share their ideas about the world around them and become engaged in the democratic process.

Centennial High School Administration allowed students the opportunity to safely voice their opinions and a peaceful protest took place inside the school.   While a group of students returned to class immediately afterwards as planned, other students made the decision to leave the building and protest outside.   This group of students went into the street and damage occurred to a motorist’s vehicle. We are disappointed and saddened that this occurred in an otherwise peaceful demonstration.   Today, we are having conversations with both students and staff about moving forward, including more specific ways to appropriately exercise their rights.​*****Update 2 p.m. Friday 

CHAMPAIGN — Police have put out a call for additional information on Thursday’s demonstration at Centennial High School and the incident involving a car traveling through the student protest.

About 100 to 150 students left the high school after participating in a “die in” to protest the recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the killings of two black men, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City.

After lying down in the hallways, many student demonstrators left the building and stood outside. Some of them walked into Cresecent Drive in front of the school. As that occurred, a vehicle travelled through the crowd.

At least one of the students struck the vehicle’s window and caused damage to the glass, according to police, who were called to the scene.

Champaign police identified an 18-year-old student who was responsible for damaging the vehicle and the student was initially taken into custody for criminal damage to property and mob action.

However, after receiving additional information, police released the student, pending further investigation, according to a Champaign police release today.

Detectives will continue reviewing all witness statements and videos surrounding this incident, in consultation with the state’s attorney’s office.

The Champaign Police Department can be reached by calling 351-4545 or callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 373-8477 (TIPS.) Information can also be sent to www.373tips.com or by texting keyword CCTIP plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).

- CHRISTINE DES GARENNES

*****

Centennial High School students want the community to know: Black lives matter.

That's why, if you walked in the front doors of the school this afternoon between seventh and eighth hour, you'd trip over about 150 bodies lying on the ground.

In less than seven hours, three teachers and five students at Centennial High School organized a school-wide "die in," protesting two recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers for killing black males, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in New York City.

At the start of the school day, English teacher Lindsay Aikman, newspaper teacher Jennifer McQueen and African American Club adviser Cessily Thomas teamed up with a group of five students, converging with demonstrators across the nation, to organize a sit-in style protest. They made T-shirts, posters and informed the student body about the demonstration via social media. Talk of the demonstration spread quickly, Aikman said.

"We wanted to disrupt the passing period. We wanted to make students stop and notice what we were doing," she said. And that's exactly what happened during the last hour of the school day.

Starting in the front lobby of the school and wrapping around down both main hallways, about 150 to 200 students lay on the ground for 15 and a half minutes, wearing T-shirts and holding posters that read "Why do black lives matter?," "Justice for Michael Brown" and "Justice for Eric Garner."

There was symbolism in the amount of time on the ground, according to Aikman: 11 minutes to represent the 11 times Eric Garner told police officers in New York that he could not breathe, and four and a half minutes representing the four and a half hours Michael Brown's body lay in the street after he was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

"I've never been more proud of my students," Centennial Principal Greg Johnson said about the hallway protest. "They carried everything out so well. I always want the school to be a safe place to express political views."

Junior Keyna Robinson, who helped organize the demonstration, said her intent was to show solidarity between the local community and the national issue of race in society.

"I wanted people to know these large issues impact us. This matters and we support the national movements going on," she said. "The amount of people that came together and participated peacefully shows that many people do care and this is an important issue in our community."

Once the 15 and a half minutes were up, several students decided to bring the protest outside, which was not the original intent of organizers, according to Aikman. "Students chose to bring it outside," she said.

With hands raised in the air holding "Hands up, don't shoot" posters, a large group of students marched out onto the sidewalk and eventually out onto Crescent Drive, blocking traffic.

No injuries, car window broken

Nobody was reported hurt when some high school demonstrators broke the windshield of a moving vehicle.

Champaign police Lt. Robert Rea said that between 70 and 100 students were demonstrating outside of Centennial High School at 3:30 p.m. Thursday when the incident took place.

"This demonstration occurred, and a car was trying to get through," Rea told The News-Gazette.

"Some of the demonstrators broke the driver's windshield. We're not really sure on how the windshield was broken. We're not sure if they threw something at it or if they pounded on it with their hands. That's not clear, and we're still looking at that."

Rea said neither the driver of the car nor any of the demonstrators was reported injured.

He said Champaign police had not taken anybody into custody in connection with the incident as of Thursday evening.

 

"We have talked to a couple of kids who were present at the time of the incident," Rea said.

The original protest organizers declined to comment.

"No, that was not a part of the plan. At all," Aikman said.

News-Gazette staff writer Tim Mitchell contributed to this report.

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Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on December 04, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Well well well.  The brain trust at Unit 4 is in full swing tonight.  First, we allow students to disrupt the hallway so that other students are inconvienced, then we are SHOCKED that when the students go outside and impede the flow of traffic, and smash an innocent persons window, that this was "not ;part of the original plan"   Well I would hope that it was not.   Who is going to ;pay for this womans window?  Unit 4?  It was their students, and their administration who allowed this to happen.  Would Mr. Johnson be allowing of students to protest the recent beating death of the Bosnian immigrant in St Louis by a band of thugs?    If Unit 4 administration could not be more out of touch, then I do not know who is.   The administration of Centennial needs to explain to the community, why during normal school hours, they allowed this protest to go on, and more importantly, why they did -0- to protect innocent folks from just driving down the street?  To say that they did not anticipate that this might go south, shows just how out of touch with reality that the staff is.  What could have been a teaching moment, has now shown to the district a negative image.   I feel so bad for the ;poor motorist who was attacked by a group of out of control students.  The administration at Centennial must   be  held accountable

 

chantelb wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

I commend Unit 4 for allowing the students to demonstrate and protest an unjust act which apparently the students and the administration felt was so great that they wanted to make an impact as well.  I commend Unit 4 for allowing the students to express how they feel about the current events in the America that they live in. I am very glad that they had a chance to express themselves in what could possibly be in history books down the line and to be apart of something like that means alot to some of those students. It must be nice to judge what took place by simply reading an article that doesn't state the positive facts in this situation out of 150 peaceful students 8 were not. So what I take out of that is 142 students felt as if there protest could make an impact of a current situation in which there future generation will surely face as time goes on. So instead of sitting on your judgemental high horse how about coming down to the real world where TRAGIC events are happening daily and understand that those children have a right to express their feelings on current events that they feel important to them.

 

Soy Guapo wrote on December 05, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I go to Centennial, so let me explain some things:

1. Students hardly disrupted the hallway. If you calculated the amount of square footage in Centennial and then calculated the amount of space that students were taking up, the students would take up a very small fraction of the space.

2. They were all laying on the floor, so that when people would see them and possibly not be able to get through, they would be forced to stop and think about Eric Garner or Michael Brown and be aware that this is a huge issue in our country.

3. The protest outside started off peaceful and no one was in the street. I'm glad that Centennial trusts their student body enough to allow them to do this. Then, all it takes is a few people to go out in the street and others will follow, so everyone going in the street was truly "not part of the plan."

4. That person driving through the people should not be considered "innocent." I understand that people should not have been out in the street, but anyone who intentionially drives through a group of protesting teenagers should really think about their actions before they do them because to be quite honest, that woman made an incredibly dumb choice.

5. I don't know exactly what occured because I did not see it happen, but I have heard from multiple witnesses that the woman's windshield got broken because the woman hit a young man with her bumper and when she hit him he fell forward and the impact accidently broke the windshield. Maybe that's not the truth but, even if the windshield was intentionally broken, Centennial should not be held responsible for this young man's poor decision and this woman's stupidity.

6. If this protest isn't considered a teaching moment, I don't know what is. Teachers could've tried to talk about this in class, but a lot of students don't listen to their teachers talk. Getting students involved in these situations should be considered a good thing because it is introducing them to what is hapening in our country and at STM, the staff doesn't talk to their students about Eric Garner or any situations like that, so those kids have no idea what is happening in the world around them. It's great that Centennial wants their students to be aware of what happens. In 10 or 20 years from now, Centennial students are going to remember the day that we protested about equal rights and how passionately we all felt about the topic. If teachers had just talked to us in class, it would've been far less memorable.

Joe American wrote on December 06, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Let me offeryou a valuable little piece of advice that your teachers and parents obviously haven't been offering you - when you lay in the hall to protest your cause du jour and you're blocking the students who take their education seriously from getting to and from class, they're not thinking about your cause (in this case, the guy who just robbed a convenience store and was trying to kill a cop), they're thinking about how idiotic and boneheaded the kids laying on the floor are.  Trust me, they are.

You're welcome.

Soy Guapo wrote on December 09, 2014 at 7:12 pm

I respect your opinion, but do not agree with it at all.

I am fully aware of what students were thinking because I was one of the students who couldn't get to my 8th period class on my usual route because of the protest. You basically just stated that all of the students in that protest don't take their education seriously, which could not be further from the truth. I think the students involved in the protest learned more on Thursday than the students who weren't involved. There was no need to worry about getting to class on time because all of the teachers were informed that this was happening and were aware that students may be late to class. Also, there are many different ways to get around Centennial, it's not hard to get to class even if part of a hallway is blocked. They weren't even blocking any classroom doors. It may be inconvenient to have to go a different route to get to class, but it's far more inconvenient to have to bury a family member because they got killed by a police officer. By the way, I find it hard to take "advice" from someone who didn't even proofread their comment to see that they forgot a space in between the words "offer" and "you." Also, most high schoolers do not use the word "boneheaded," so I highly doubt that anyone was thinking that.

ForReal wrote on December 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm

"...forced to stop and think about Michael Brown and Eric Garner..."

Hopefully some students thought, as they saw your demonstration, that their cases are a good example of the consequences that can happen when one does not respect authority. Both men could have avoided what happened to them by complying with the police. Brown attacked an officer. Garner was asked multiple times to go with the officers. How many times should the police have to ask a person to comply before you think they should be able to use force?

I respect the cause that you are fighting for, but using Michael Brown and Eric Garner as your poster-boys is misguided.

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on December 04, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Well well well.  The brain trust at Unit 4 is in full swing tonight.  First, we allow students to disrupt the hallway so that other students are inconvienced, then we are SHOCKED that when the students go outside and impede the flow of traffic, and smash an innocent persons window, that this was "not ;part of the original plan"   Well I would hope that it was not.   Who is going to ;pay for this womans window?  Unit 4?  It was their students, and their administration who allowed this to happen.  Would Mr. Johnson be allowing of students to protest the recent beating death of the Bosnian immigrant in St Louis by a band of thugs?    If Unit 4 administration could not be more out of touch, then I do not know who is.   The administration of Centennial needs to explain to the community, why during normal school hours, they allowed this protest to go on, and more importantly, why they did -0- to protect innocent folks from just driving down the street?  To say that they did not anticipate that this might go south, shows just how out of touch with reality that the staff is.  What could have been a teaching moment, has now shown to the district a negative image.   I feel so bad for the ;poor motorist who was attacked by a group of out of control students.  The administration at Centennial must   be  held accountable

 

Sancho Panza wrote on December 04, 2014 at 7:12 pm

150 students decided to skip an hour of class, but only 8 were dedicated enough to express their opinions on their own time. At least 1 of those 8 students broke a windshield. This was the proudest moment for the school principal.

 

chumberley wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

The NG should report the incident properly.  My son was present and was part of the outside demonstration.  The "innocent" motorist recklessly accelerated through the group of students on the street hitting several of them, including my son.  He came home with a mark across his face from the car's antenna.  The motorists window was broken when students were trying to prevent her from driving through the crowd and striking more people.  Several students, including my son, have the incident on video and have submitted their videos to the authorities.

 

No, the students should not have been blocking traffic in the street.  But that does not give a driver the right to drive through them and strike them with her car.

 

The school administration should be commended for advocating and encouraging a protest by students during school hours.  These students were empowered by the ability to exercise their civil right to assemble and protest the current state of affairs.  Is this not a freedom Americans are proud to have?  Isn't this learning experience just as important as what they would have learned sitting in their classes?

Not a happy parent wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

I just lost all respect for Greg Johnson.  This is what makes you proud?  I want to see these three teachers disciplined for organizing this protest that put my child in harm’s way!   My daughter called me today scared to leave the classroom due to the mob action taking place outside.  Is this what you are teaching your students?  Maybe you should teach them to obey the law, listen to the police, and not try to grab their weapons!   If you follow those guidelines, you won’t get shot!  I would be willing to bet that you could take any 10 kids that were participating in this little demonstration today and have trouble finding 3 of them that knew any facts of either of the cases being demonstrated on today.  Maybe you should have a discussion about the facts of each case in the classroom instead.  What’s next?  Looting and burning down buildings?

Soy Guapo wrote on December 05, 2014 at 5:12 pm

The protest was optional, they did not put your daughter in harm's way. They're not teaching students to not obey the law, they're teaching students to stand up for what they believe in, which is a good thing. Many teachers at Centennial discuss these topics in their classrooms, so for you to say that students don't know about these topics (especially since a good portion of Centennial's population is African American) is inaccurate.

ForReal wrote on December 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm

So if we're going to start getting serious about students exercising their right to assemble at school, can we do away with school dress codes too? After all, dress is freedom of expression. Probably should do away with a teacher's or principal's ability to search lockers too, because that sounds like it could infringe on students' 4th amendment. 

It's a SCHOOL, for goodness sakes. Schools are NOT the proper place for political protests!

British-Educated wrote on December 07, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Wow. Your right, we should be teaching our kids to be walked all over and never stand up for their equality or their convictions. 

The sad part is that your just ignorant of African American struggles. There is clear racial profiling in the the legal system. Black kids are 21 times more likely of being shot by police than white kids. Recent news stories (including a boy shot playing with a toy gun), suggest that even obeying the law doesn't keep them safe.

I'm sorry your white daughter was scared for an hour; but I don't think that even compares to the fear that the african american community has grown up in when it comes to the police. 

ForReal wrote on December 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Who said her daughter was white? You're assuming that, right? So people aren't supposed to make assumptions about black people, but you can sling around racial assumptions on here? Ok... 

Black kids are 21 more times likely to get shot by the police. That's a stat that can't really be proven. Educate yourself: http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/how-many-police-kill-black-men-without-database-we-cant-know

And what fear does an African American have of the police? If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. Oh yeah, I forgot. You still think Michael Brown had his hands up and was running away from Officer Wilson, don't you?

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

So............................ its ok for a group of students to skip classes yet, when it was time to go home, they left.  If this happened after school non of them , ok 8, would have stuck around.   As for the driver.. how do you know that they were reckless.  Maybe they got scared when surrounded by a group of students?  Did you ask her or them what they were thinking?  It is NOT acceptable to block traffic.  It is NOT acceptable to block the entrance to a school from the inside.. Education should come first, not some protest.   This activity should NOT have been condoned by Unit 4 under any circumstances.

RacerX2202 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

delete

BruckJr wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Why would any parent choose to send their child to a school like this?

Champaign567 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

My child text me as well from class & it made her nervous.  Not a very wise choice letting this happen during middle of school hours!  Did you really think this was teaching kids something worthwhile?!?  Did you really think it would be 100% calm?!?  I agree w/ the person's (Not A Happy Parent) comments above!!!   My daughter too video'd the situation & MANY just jumped on the ban wagon "just because" .... Not because they "really" knew all the FACTS in the current events as of late.  I'd like to know how you picked these 100+ students to do this??  Shame on Centennial & their Administration for letting this happen & shame in Unit 4 if they also allowed it!!!  

free_tobeme66 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 8:12 pm

EXACTLY!!!! Report it correctly! I don't recall seeing you there. Oh but your son said the car "recklessly accelerated". Hmmm, maybe you need to watch his video again.

Point being there actions are no better...they proved nothing today except more violence on innocent people.

Wow...what a proud parent I would be. Smashing a window to make a car stop...terrorizing an innocent person...

Wow...what a proud moment. Did anything get proven? Anything resolved? I don't think so. Where is the respect for another person?... The respect for someone else's property? How about consequences for your actions. No one made them hit the car...they CHOSE to...and there are consequences. Try teaching them a couple of those life lessons.

areader wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I agree totally.  Well said!  These students should have been in class!

chumberley wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I'm looking at these pictures on the NG website, and I don't see any out of control students engaging in mob action.  It looks to me like a large group of students laying in the hall and standing outside and chanting.  This definitely does not constitute mob action.  These students were simply exercising their right to assemble and protest.  Are they supposed to refrain from exercising their rights because some other students were uncomfortable?  Making people uncomfortable is the entire point of protest!  Making people uncomfortable is what brings attention to the situation.

 

I also find it amusing that people are so quick to assume that these kids have no idea about these cases and were just jumping on the bandwagon and skipping class.  Again, the pictures seem to show many students with hands up, holding signs, chanting.  This doesn't seem like a bunch of students just wanting to get out of class.  Teenagers are intelligent, do care about current events, and do have their own thoughts and opinions...regardless of what you think about them.  My children and many of their friends have paid close attention to these cases.  There is no reason for adults to belittle them and diminish their opinoins.  They should be commended for taking a position on an issue and being involved in political action.

 

Holding this event during school hours allowed many students to participate who might not have been otherwise able.  Students have to worry about transportation and other afterschool obligations.  How would students have been able to be involved if they had to ride a bus home?  This event taught the students much more than they could have learned just discussing the issue in class.  If anything, the school should encourage more of these events.  There is nothing wrong with getting students out of class and having real world experiences.

 

 

 

 

RacerX2202 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

No you are wrong.  A school is suppose to be a safe zone.  Students should feel comfortable and in a good learning environment.  There are students that can't walk to class without getting shoved and verbally assaulted at Centennial.  You think an event like this makes these kids feel in a safe learning envrionment. 

Soy Guapo wrote on December 09, 2014 at 7:12 pm

These days, schools aren't what I would call a "safe zone." There are too many school shootings in our country and a protest is far less dangerous than that. Also, police are supposed to create a safe zone for people, but when they kill people, it does the exact opposite of that.

ForReal wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

If the students knew about the case, then they would know that Michael Brown's hands weren't up, so why continue to advance that narrative? Multiple witnesses testified to this fact and the forensics indicate the officer's story was true, but let's not let facts get in the way!

isaach_ wrote on December 05, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Wanna talk facts? How about the fact that she accelerated into the group of students? Or the FACT that 2 of them were injured? We have video and photo evidence of this. Yes the students should not have been blocking the street, but the lady was an idiot. If you see a group of people in the street, you don't go through them. But I guess only people with common sense would know that.

Joe American wrote on December 05, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Apparently you fell asleep during that life lesson. 

It goes like this:  If you see cars in the street, don't go walking there, not the other way around.

It's amazing you've made it this far.

Wingman wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

And this is exactly why I removed my children from Unit 4 school district.  This is absured!  I don't even know how to respond to this article.  The teachers should be suspended and the principal should be fired. This wouldn't happen in Normal.

areader wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I totally agree!  IMO, this entire incident - totally senseless!  I also feel sorry for the driver!

British-Educated wrote on December 07, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I'm guessing your white? Its 'senseless' to you because you don't understand why or what they were they were standing up for. Its easy for you to relate to the drivier...but why not try and put yourself in the kids shoes?

Cessily82 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

The protest was beautiful! The children were awesome! I am beyond proud of them!! The truth is, when black kids are doing negative things, you'll complain in the comments, when they're doing positive things, you'll complain in the comments! I commend your consistence!!!!!! It happened, it's over...I'm sure you'll find something to complain about in tomorrow's news! 

 

OAN: to the reporter... I am "cece Wilson" only my name is Cessily Thomas. I am a Spanish/AVID teacher and co sponsor of the African  American Culture club

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

So your going to ;pay for the smashed windshield?  Who pays for that?  The School district?  The student who broke it?  Since if the school district is "my money"  I vote for you.  Your lack of foresight in this matter is astounding.  Your lack of responsibility in this is breathtaking.   I certainly hope you do not expect the victim to pay for the damages caused by your students.

chumberley wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Why is the responsibility for the broken windshield automatically fall on the students?  Why are they automatically at fault?  Does the adult driver who hit several students with her car bear any responsibility?  Why isn't she to be held accountable for her actions and her decision to strike people with her car?

I have already watched multiple videos of the incident which very clearly show the woman accelerating through a group of students resulting in screams and cries as the car strikes them, and THEN students hitting her windows in an attempt to get her to stop.  These videos are floating around on social media.  I'm sure with a little bit of effort, the NG could easily post one along with the story.

No, the students should not have been in the street.  But that does not make it ok for someone to hit them with their car.  I can't help but notice the similiarity between this mentality and the exact issues the students were protesting.  

BruckJr wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

consistence?

Cessily82 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 3:12 am

consistency....thanks for pointing that out:)

QM46 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Nevermind, consistency is correct.  You applaud their consistency. 

ForReal wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

How is it positive to disrupt the school day for everyone else?  Encouraging students to protest the Michael Brown case is condoning Brown's lack of respect for authority and completely dismisses Brown's own actions in what happened. The Michael Brown case is hardly the case to use to try and make an argument about police relations with black people.

And making signs saying "black lives matter"? Really? Who said that they didn't? Blacks on black violence is much more prevalent than white on black violence let alone police violence. Perhaps the energy used in this demonstration could have been used to explore why this is the case. 

justFYI wrote on December 04, 2014 at 11:12 pm
Profile Picture

Mam, what are you thinking? High school should absolutely be a place where sensitive topics like the Brown case should be discussed academically. It should never be a place where 150 students disrupt the workings of the school, causing fear and alarm to other students who are trying to go about their day in a productive manner. The fact that the protest you organized got out of hand to the point where hundreds of students left class, took to the streets and caused the police to be called and a student arrested is shameful. And please stop trying to blame the driver for all this. The last thing you expect while driving is to be surrounded by angry people walking in the roadway (that's where the cars are supposed to drive, remember?)

How convenient that the news crews happened to be there far ahead of time while police were not. Perhaps you were hoping for some nation-wide publicity if the police "misbehaved"? Also, your little segment on the news represents ALL OF UNIT 4, whether you like it or not. I hope you and the other "organizers" are appropriately disciplined for this. Perhaps it will show the students that there are consequences for their actions.

ltaw84 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 7:12 am

The problem here  is that the administration and a few teachers agreed upon having this protest without parent knowledge.  If you want to have a protest so be it but don't "disrupt" classes for kids that don't want to participate in something they don't know enough about.  Kids in this age group have raw and mixed emotions and had this gone wrong -  well well we would've gotten the call from the school.  You have me sign a piece of paper asking to be notified about pesticide being sprayed around the school but you can't notify the parents of this happening today.  Last time I checked we are the parents not the teachers I can assure you if most parents knew this was happening today the parents would have been with their student during this "die-in" so we all could witness it or we would've let our student stay home for the day.  I am very disturbed that my son's teacher wanted to attend the "die in" leaving him and one other student no choice but to skip class.  Yes the intent was only for passing period but clearly that did not happen!   Congrats Unit 4 you made the media! 

ForReal wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Stunned that this was allowed, condoned, and made the administration feel "proud". Just stunned. Is it going to be acceptable for any student to start a demonstration in the middle of the school day for something else? What if students wanted to protest against gay marriage or something else that isn't politically correct now days? Would that be acceptable? 

This district's liberal leadership needs to focus on educating rather than getting into the business of endorsing political statements.

British-Educated wrote on December 07, 2014 at 10:12 pm

It was the teenagers idea, not the 'liberal leaderships'.

ForReal wrote on December 04, 2014 at 9:12 pm

delete - double post

local reader wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

It sure looks like the driver was behaving with impunity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU7s_kOGV-k

RacerX2202 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Really going to judge anything about driver from that. How do you know what was happening to that driver. If I was surrounded I probably would have freaked out

Trailmom wrote on December 04, 2014 at 10:12 pm

They get out of class to protest things that happened elsewhere.  But they didn't go protest the several shootings in Champaign the last few months.  How many people were killed in Champaign in the past two months? 

Oh..and if you think kids don't join these protests just to get out of class? Guess again. I used to go to anti-abortion protests just to get out of class and that was 30+ years ago.

ChampaignUser wrote on December 04, 2014 at 11:12 pm

People need to realize that this whole thing about going outside was not intended. That's stated in the article. It was the students idea to go outside. It was only suppose to last 15 minutes then the students would go back to class. It was suppose to be non violent. That didn't go as planned and the staff couldn't do anything. It was a group of 100+ students and do you think the staff could honestly move them all inside the building while their chanting? No. Yes, the driver did hit kids and was accelerating. Where is her punishment? Centennial shouldn't be getting shunned not should their staff. They did what the kids wanted by having a non violent protest and allowing to take time out the day for students to do this. After those 15 minutes were up, students were expected to go back to class but most went outside to continue. The staff didn't know this was going to happen so it's not their fault. Mr. Johnson is a great man and I am happy he allowed the peaceful part of the protest to be allowed considering students wanted it most. Get the full story before you bash an education institution. Educate yourself first.

Beem wrote on December 04, 2014 at 11:12 pm

So if these students and/or teachers do not get punished for this disruption I guess that opens the door for other students and/or teachers to protest for their cause of the day. Maybe tomorrow some students can walk out with Jewish Lives Matter chants and signs. Looks like enrollments will be going up at St. Thomas More, Judah, St. Joe and Mahomet. As for the car, it is a street, where cars are known to be present. If one of these students would have been injured, the parents would have been blaming school administrators for letting this happen.

Edwards_ wrote on December 04, 2014 at 11:12 pm

The fact that so many people can comment negatively on what Centennial was trying to do and most of what people were saying has nothing to do with the real true message or is false information, shows their true mindset. The fact that people are commenting on how about 150 students skipped class is irrelevant. The fact that someone said their was some type of mob action is completely false. Teens are already thought of as bad and disrespectful, so when we try to do something productive and harmless, we get frowned upon even more. I'm confused. Can someone explain this to me?

capt80 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 11:12 pm

"No, that was not a part of the plan. At all," Aikman said.

No, Aikman. Mob action usually doesn't have much of a plan.

If I were Greg Johnson's boss, he'd be looking for work tomorrow.

Anyone remember "Polar Bear Hunting" a few years ago?? I didn't think so.

random87 wrote on December 04, 2014 at 11:12 pm

As a student who was actually there to witness everything that happened first hand I need to say that the actual intent of the protest in the school was touching and representing something that we as the younger generation want/need to take a stance on. I applaud the teachers and students/friends who organized the idea of peacefully protesting. Individually for me I saw the passion that some students had during the whole protest and it was very powerful. I was apart of those about two hundred kids laying down and being silent. But the school DID come together as a whole during that time even for those who didn't participate in it. I agree that it did get out of hand afterwards. Honestly though it was both sides that were at fault.

Rocky7 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 12:12 am

Why do school teachers support demonstrators on behalf of African-Americans who commits a crime and is shot, or injured for resisting arrest the police and assume the police are immediately deemed guilty and the criminal is deemed innocent before a full investigation is undertaken? .What else are these teachers doing in their classrooms? Are the students learning anything?

 

This is why Johnnie can't read nor write nor do much math and  American students lag behind much of the industrial world in academic tests.

 

And who encourages this? Probably the teachers unions.

rsp wrote on December 05, 2014 at 1:12 am

I can remember teachers teaching us how to protest back in the day. It's interesting that if they protest they are wrong, if they riot same thing. It just has that feeling of "they are being uppity" and "they don't know their place". I read the comments and many could have been written decades ago, just change a few words here and there. The sentiment is still the same.

This is the next generation, with the right to vote, to protest, to change things that need changing. If we don't show them the way we are in trouble. I for one am proud of them.

Rocky7 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 2:12 am

Well, back in my day in High School, it was MY PARENTS who showed me "the way" about changing things needing changing, and voting. Are you saying parents don't have that resonsibility anymore?

British-Educated wrote on December 07, 2014 at 10:12 pm

I don't think you can 'vote' to remove racial profiling. 

The issues are hand need to be addressed; the only way they get addressed is if people stand up and push it into the media and onto a politicians agenda.

Cessily82 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 3:12 am

*consistency

lga wrote on December 05, 2014 at 6:12 am

All the pearl-clutching and faux-rage in this thread is disheartening. Terrified at high school kids gathering to express their thoughts?

I am sad that so many parents are raising their children to see the world through a lens of fear. 

ericbussell wrote on December 05, 2014 at 6:12 am

This is just disturbing.   

If what I read in the comment section is true, a large group of students went off plan and were in the street.  Shame on Unit 4 for being involved in an activity that could have contributed to the injuries of the students and/or motorists.   It's too hard to tell the whole story of that car scene from that short video.  I'm sure some will speculate it was some racist while others will speculate that they were fearful of the mob surrounding their car.   I'm having trouble seeing this as the beautiful, peaceful protest (in the street) while the school and teachers said there was no way for them to control them.  I'd really like to see the first part of that video before blaming the students or the driver.   

Organize a 15-minute protest?  What could possibly go wrong?   Doesn't Unit 4 have enough on its plate?  I'm sure Mohomet, St. Joe, Tolono, Fisher are looking better and better to some.   Dumb.  

 

rsp wrote on December 05, 2014 at 12:12 pm

When you push that "white flight" you really should include the disclaimer that you're a realtor.

ericbussell wrote on December 05, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I'm pushing no such thing.   In fact, I have a huge incentive to discourage what you referred to.  It is in the community's best interest for Unit 4 to look more attractive and not less attractive.  Stirring up tensions on a controversial topic is counter productive.  If a student or motorist had been injured, the school could have been facing a huge lawsuit.  Teachers should not be be facilitating protests during class time or on taxpayer time and I'm sure the lawyers and administrators will ensure that going forward, the welfare and safety of the students is a larger priority than political activism.   

SaintClarence27 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 6:12 pm

How would the school face a lawsuit? Please explain.

And don't you think that political activism many times helps improve the welfare and safety of those in a society? Or do you think that everyone is best just shutting up and taking it?  How about this? You start.

ericbussell wrote on December 07, 2014 at 8:12 am

I'm not going to play lawyer, but teachers being involved in organizing a political protest that leads to more serious unintended consequences than a damanged car would probably raise some serious liability questions.   

I have no problems with poltiical activism, but I don't think teachers should be involved in organizing political activities at school that have a high probabiity of leading to disruptive behavior.  

 

local reader wrote on December 05, 2014 at 7:12 am

Please help me understand the driver's behavior. You are driving down a street, you see a bunch of people in the street. Why wouldn't you stop, back up and go another route. Why would you drive into the crowd of people? I don't understand it.

ericbussell wrote on December 05, 2014 at 7:12 am

 

I think we need to ask the driver.  Was the driver boxed in by cars/protesters and not able to get away?  How were the protesters behaving towards the driver/car before the driver decided to drive through?  I think I need more help understanding why a teacher-facilitated protest resulted in a protest where students ended up in the street against cars and trucks that weigh thousands of pounds.   I'm sure there's a physics teacher at the school who could explain why this is a really bad idea.  

rsp wrote on December 05, 2014 at 2:12 pm

If you look at the other videos you will see the car was alone when it approached the kids in the street. There is clearly a police car there too yet the car just drives into a crowd of kids. So easy to have just gone a street over.

chief21 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

Easy...sidewalks are for people, streets are for cars.

Champaignite wrote on December 05, 2014 at 7:12 am

I wasn't part of organizing the protests but I am pleased that kids actually demonstrated that they cared about an issue.  Whether I agree with them or not, I am excited that kids felt so strongly about something far beyond shoes or music or what somebody said on Twitter.  I think a lot of you are missing or simply don't care about that point.

I wasn't out there at the exact moment the windshield was broken, but I was there afterwards and I heard kids telling me she was revving her engine while going through the crowd.  Ok, maybe she was so terrified  and panicked.  I don't think she was panicked nor do I think she was experiencing PTSD as someone suggested when she was screaming at the kids or when she flipped them all off at one point.  A lot of you are quick to excuse the grown woman in the car (the ADULT) and justify her behavior repeatedly but oh so quick to condemn teenagers (KIDS) for actually caring about an issue and acting on it.  Their behavior may not have been perfect at every step in the game but their intentions were good and overall so was their behavior.  Please don't be so quick to condemn 150 students for the unfortunate actions of a few students who also were reacting emotionally just as the grown driver was.  You know, the one whose actions many of you are so quick to defend.

We have a serious problem in this country that seems to be worsening.  Ferguson aside, have you seen the video regarding Eric Garner?  And there's not even an indictment??  Not a convicition, but at least an indictment???

The comment that there is a lot of black-on-black crime so where's that outrage.  Well, no argument that that's an issue but you know what the differences are.  Black-on-black crime doesn't involve people with badges paid for by tax dollars essentially choking someone to death for selling illegal cigarettes; and, people who are caught for black-on-black crime are not only indicted but prosecuted and usually convicted.  The ignorance of that comparison is disturbing to say the least.

I too am proud that the kids tried to really make a statement and saddened that 30 seconds changed the entire tone and spin on what they were trying to say and do.  But I am disappointed and somewhat horrified (but not necessarily surprised) how quickly most of these comments condemn kids for trying to make a stand, not unlike is happening all over the country.  

 

chief21 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

The prinicipal needs to organize a demonstration for  Officer Wilson to show how diverse our schools are. I think a lot of people moved to NO votes on anything to do with the school building projects after seeing this ridiculous mob action sanctioned by a foolish school principal.
 Now I know why St.Thomas and Judah continue to grow.

JasmineD123 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

Centennial student speaking, 

You fail to realize that the protest wasn't just against ONE case or ONE person. It's ALL OF IT IN GENERAL. Not to mention the young boy killed here in champaign less than 7 years ago. Out entire town should still be outraged. 

St.Thomas more took us out of class last year to raise Pro life awareness, why didn't you comment on that subject arguing that Judah should argue Pro choice to show diversity. 

Please strengthen your arguement because currently with your lack of knowledge of the situation it's completely invalid.

 

(in reply to chief 21)

 

.

 

ForReal wrote on December 05, 2014 at 11:12 am

JasmineD-

The difference is that St. Thomas More is a PRIVATE school. That isn't the same thing as a public school. Never mind the fact that their demonstration didn't end in a smashed windshield. 

rsp wrote on December 05, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I don't think you heard her, the school made them demonstrate for prolife- it didn't teach them about demonstrating and give them a choice. Public or private should not matter. It required them to participate in a political event even if it was against their beliefs. Centenniel did not do that.

ForReal wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

It's not about the fact that students demonstrated. Good for them. It's about the fact that they demonstrated DURING THE SCHOOL DAY. The entire school day shouldn't be disrupted so that the teachers can rally students together to express their own political views.

School should be a forum to talk about issues and learn about them. Disrupting the school day by laying in the halls hardly qualifies.

JasmineD123 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 9:12 am

Centennial student speaking,

 

so what is a pep rally? When highschoolers everywhere gather together to say why their school is the best DURING SCHOOL HOURS every single year. 

Why is that not an issue? Why is it that when we get together to fight a real issue that has hit us personally as the city of champaign it shouldn't happen during school hours? 

Considering you only think of it as "Laying in the halls" you obviously fail to realize the true meaning behind what we were doing. Therefore your arguement is invalid. 

 

 

In reply to MHartpu82

ForReal wrote on December 05, 2014 at 11:12 am

JasmineD-

Pep rallies are not politicized events, nor are they spontaneous. They include the entire student body - not a group of 100 who potentially disrupted the ability of others to safely walk the halls. 

It's great if you and your fellow students want to champion this cause. Do it after school. Schools should be a marketplace of ideas. Would students who feel differently that you do feel safe walking in the hallways as 100 students are playing dead? I don't think so. 

Discuss the issues at school. Protest outside of school.

chumberley wrote on December 05, 2014 at 11:12 am

Why wouldn't students who feel differently not feel safe walking down the hall?  What is posing a threat to them?  If they don't agree with the position, simply walk around the protesters.  

Pep rallies are political events.  Promoting the position of your school relative to other schools most definitly is political.  Trivial, but political none the less.  Pep rallies are events in which students are forced to be present to show their "school pride" and "support their school."  Geesh, that's not ramming opinions down kid's throats at all.  So much for that "marketplace of ideas."  But yes, let's advocate that and condone students trying to address as serious issue.

rsp wrote on December 05, 2014 at 12:12 pm

You are contradicting yourself. Is a school a marketplace of ideas or just the right ideas?

ForReal wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Maybe you missed the part where I said "discuss the ideas at school and protest outside of school." Have whatever opinion you want, but school is not the place to start protests. Other students should not have to be subjected to the disruptions caused by this demonstration - or any other for that matter.

Citizen1 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

Our schools are public insitutuions of learning.  They exist to teach our children regardless of their race, beliefs or anything else.  The teachers who organize assembly for the benefit of only one belief should be fired immediately.  If these teachers want to organize an assembly supporting one belief over another they should do so away from public property on their own time.  No one, either students nor teachers, had the full facts, any evidence or knowledge of the rule of law in the state where the incident to which they objected occurred.  At no time should teachers condone or approve students acting contrary to law.  Blocking traffic and possibly causing drivers to panic is contrary to the public good and possibly the law.  In any case, it is dangerous for the students in the street.  Stupid and irresponsible.

Jsmith68 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

My children are not sent to this school to have political views and misconceptions pushed upon them by the district. My children are there to be educated. It is mine and my wife's job to teach show them the many choices they have in life and to let them decide, not the school. I have a son who is somewhat introverted. He was scared to death from being around what was happening. No student, either black or white, should ever be make to feel uncomfortable at school. 

Finally, as many police officers have been told numerous times "my taxes pay your salary".  This is the same for teachers. My tax money is not there for you to push your political agenda or to decide what my childeren should be believing. You have crossed the line, my children will not be going to Unit 4 schools any longer. We will either go private or make every effort to move to better district. 

Good luck with the new school vote next year........not going to happen now. 

JasmineD123 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 9:12 am

Centennial Student Speaking,

 

 

Your child had the CHOICE as to weather they wanted to participate or not. Multiple classes were in session during our protesting.  In no way were any students pushed to believe one way about the situation, By protesting, we as students showed our personal views but by staying in class you showed you were against it. No teacher once expressed to a student how they felt about any of the cases we were protesting. 

 

So, I can't say that you completely understand the situation. The teachers weren't out there telling us they agree or disagree, but some were supporting students with beliefs such as social activists.

 

 In reply to Jsmith68

Jsmith68 wrote on December 05, 2014 at 10:12 am

NO student should be made to fell uncomfortable. A choice?? Peer pressure is at the most extreme in high school. He is there to learn, not participate in demonstrations admittedly organized by teachers. Someday when you are employed and paying property taxes that pay the salary of these teachers you will feel the same way. I also wonder how you are posting on this site considering you are supposed to be in school?  

chumberley wrote on December 05, 2014 at 11:12 am

Why shouldn't students be made to feel uncomfortable?  Nothing in our laws states that others have to direct their actions so as to refrain from making you uncomfortable.  If your child felt uncomfortable, that is their problem.  Other students do not have to tiptoe around and refrain from expressing their opinions so as to prevent your child's discomfort.  The Constitution does not state "Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and feeling comfortable."  Thinking that your or your child's comfort supercedes others' rights is entitlement at its best.

How uncomfortable do you think it makes people of color feel to live in fear?  How uncomfortable do you think it makes people of color feel to know that they could be shot at any moment by the police, whether they are armed or not, and whether they committed a crime or not?  How uncomfortable do you think it makes students of color feel to have their attempts at positive political action in regards to an issue they feel passionate about construed as threatening out-of-control mob action?  Oh yes, but lets all be in an uproar because your child felt uncomfortable at the site of students laying on the floor and chanting outside.

As for peer pressure, 200 of 1400 students participated.  14% participated, 86% did not.  Seems like the "peer pressure" would be going the other direction towards non-participation.  If you are upset because your child did participate, don't chalk it up to peer pressure and being made to feel uncomfortable.  Maybe your kid just doesn't share your narrow-minded views and wanted to participate.  Don't blame others for "making" your kid do something that you didn't like.

I am also a parent, employed, and paying property taxes.  So don't assume that everyone in your position is going to agree with you.  But good job at belittling and demeaning the voice of a teenage student trying to express her opinion.  It's really sad that you as an adult don't know any better.

 

JasmineD...don't let these responses discourage you.  Use your voice and speak your mind.  You have the right to do so.

ForReal wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 pm

"How uncomfortable do you think it makes people of color feel to know that they could be shot at any moment by the police, whether they are armed or not, and whether they committed a crime or not? "

Really? People of color just get spontaneously shot at by the police now? Where are these news stories at? 

It's quite the leap to say that black people are being shot at without any reason when the facts of the recent cases say otherwise. 

chumberley wrote on December 05, 2014 at 9:12 pm

How are these?

http://www.wltx.com/story/news/local/2014/09/24/video-released-released-...

http://raniakhalek.com/2014/01/26/unarmed-man-shot-and-killed-by-houston...

http://www.dailydot.com/news/john-crawford-iii-ohio-police-shooting-walmart-video/

http://www.scpr.org/news/2012/04/05/31913/several-twists-and-turns-police-shooting-kendrec-m/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/man-killed-in-police-shooting-identified/2013/08/30/ad143be0-1181-11e3-bdf6-e4fc677d94a1_story.html

http://news.yahoo.com/police-shoot-dead-unarmed-man-york-154704564.html

http://www.mediaite.com/online/grand-jury-convened-in-case-of-ny-cop-acc...

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/11/29/unarmed-black-man-and-daughter-s...

http://ktla.com/2014/08/12/man-hospitalized-after-being-shot-by-police-i...

 

If these cases aren't enough for you, here's an article detailing the frequency with which this occurs:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-bro...

Joseph J. Benton wrote on December 05, 2014 at 12:12 pm

See, now here's the problem. Why exactly was your son so uncomfortable? He, without a doubt, had a choice. The students that headed the gathering of volunteers to peacefully protest wne to each class and simply stated "We are having a 'Die-in' in order to protest the events that have happened in the past months. If you would like to join us, then we will be meeting between seventh and eighth hour in the lobby." And then they left, and class continued. Does that sound like peer pressure? Especially in High School, your son should have his own voice and own mind in order to better his decision making skills. The fact that you, as a parent, can actually sit there and say that he felt uncomfortable is a direct reflection of your influence on his growth and development. You're right, he is at school to learn, so why did he even care about this protest. "Oh no, kids are laying down in the hallway, I feel so threatened." You see how absolutely ridiculous that sounds? Good, i'm glad. Now, before you start bashing the students as well as the teachers because your taxes are going towards the teachers salary, how about you take into consideration the fact that they are here to actually teach us about the world around us. Like, the world isn't all daisy's and sunflowers, he's going to be introduced to situations where he is going to be uncomfortable. It's a thing called growing up, becoming mature, and finding your own voice. If you feel that you need to impose your opinions and views upon your son then perhaps you should reevaluate how you are raising him. 

Onto the students walking into the street and blocking traffic, thus leading up to the windshield being broken, no matter how you look at it everybody involved in this incident was in the wrong. THe woman driving the car, logically, should have chose a different path to take. Granted had the students stayed out of the street, the protest would have been fine. Centennial has a giant space in the front of the school where the students could have been. So, I agree with everybody on that aspect.

Coming from a Junior at Centennial, seventeen years old, and offended by a vast majority of these judgemental comments on here. It happened, it was wrong, it could have been handled better.

ForReal wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 pm

If the demonstration was announced ahead of time to the whole school as something that could be optionally be taken part in, then that is one thing. If this demonstration occured without everyone knowing that it was going to take place, that is quite another, and it would be perfectly understandable to feel uncomfortable.

chumberley wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

In the first few seconds of this video, you can see my son on the left side of the screen in the pink shirt with his arm raised filming with his cell phone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU7s_kOGV-k

This video is the footage that he captured at that moment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwJneyxryiU&feature=youtu.be

 

At the beginning of his video, you can clearly see the car is stopped and the students are walking around it as they proceed down the street.  They are not attacking or threatening, and are certainly not engaging in "mob action" that would make her afraid.  Yes the woman's car was surrounded, but it was surrounded by students walking past her car...not students mobbing and attacking her car.  The students are clearly facing down the street and are not even turned towards her car or facing her.  The woman then, instead of waiting for the crowd to clear so that she can pass, accelerates into the crowd and strikes the students with her car.

The woman then stops her car again before she was completely past the crowd.  If she was so afraid, why would she not proceed farther down the street before stopping?  Furthermore, the woman was later yelling at the students and flipping them off.  This doesn't seem like the behavior of someone who is terrified.  It seems like the behavior of someone who was angry that a group of kids got in her way for a few moments.  This was the action of someone wanting to assert their dominance, not someone in fear of their safety.

Even when the woman stops again, clearly still amongst the crowd, the students do not engage her in any way.  They are seen walking around, but still not attacking or hitting her car as she sits there.  It is quite obvious, as seen in the first video, that the students only reacted and hit her car as she was driving through them, and clearly in an attempt to get her to stop.

The students should not have been in the street, no one is denying that.  But that does not give a driver the right to drive through and strike them with her car.  I encounter large groups of college students jaywalking on campus on a daily basis.  Just because I have the right of way and they are in the street illegally, I still do not have the right to accelerate and hit them.  I am obligated to wait and let them pass before proceeding.  By the logic expressed here, I should just go ahead and drive through the jaywalkers because they shouldn't be in the street.  I'm sure the police and courts will accept such justification for me knowingly striking pedestrians.

Joe American wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

Since you're apparently so proud of your son for ditching school and gettng in the faces of citizens trying to mind their own business, answer this question - how does anyone's protesting whatever it is they chose to protest that day, blocking traffic and pissing off citizens do ANYTHING to help their cause? It doesn't - it hurts their cause. If you think anyone's going to say, "Wow, the driver was made late for their appointment, scared out of their pants and have a broken windshield to boot, but I think the protestor's passion really changed my mind about (insert cause du jour here)", you're smoking some mean crack, my friend.

chumberley wrote on December 05, 2014 at 9:12 am

I am quite proud of my son for standing up for his beliefs.  He did not "ditch" school; he participated in a school sanctioned event.  And he, nor any of the other students, "got in the face" of the driver.  But those points aside, protesting does help causes by raising awareness.

If there had been no protests after Mike Brown was shot, that incident would have been filed away along with all the hundreds of other police shootings that happen yearly.  But the protests brought attention to the issue.  Now, the media is reporting the Eric Garner case, and the Tamir Rice case, and the shootings in South Carolina and Arizona.  Every single day now, I am seeing a report of a police shooting somewhere in this country.  Without the attention brought by the protests, no one outside of the immediate communities would have known these events are taking place.  But the hope is that now people will begin to see and understand the frequency of these occurances and realize that it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

As the student commented so well on here, it's not about the particulars of the Mike Brown case or the Eric Garner case.  It is about a society that advocates and condones the killing of it's own citizens at the hands of the officials whose duty it is to protect the people.  In some of these shootings, yes the victim had committed a previous crime.  But not a crime punishable by death.  If Mike Brown or Eric Garner had been arrested and convicted for their crimes, no one in their right mind would agree that sentencing them to death would be an appropriate punishment for stealing or selling cigarettes.  But when police officers make that decision in a split second with their guns, they have become judge, jury, and executioner.  The situation needs attention and we need to look at how we can change the circumstances so that young Black men are not being shot to death in our streets, many of them unarmed and posing no threat of violence.  We need to examine how officers are trained to act and how we can teach them to de-escalate encounters without causing serious injury and death.  Because no one, criminal activity or not, deserves to die the way that the people in these cases died.

Joe American wrote on December 05, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Whatever you have to tell yourself.  Try to justify it any way you want, but leaving the property after the fauxtest was NOT school sanctioned...and it certainly didn't bring wanted attention to his cause.

 

Anne McCabe wrote on December 05, 2014 at 9:12 am

I APPLAUD the actions of these STUDENTS for the most part. That our young people have the social consience to be aware of current events and express their opinions accordingly is wonderful! These young people are our futue and need to be involved in the world around them. 

The unfortunate incident of the windshield being broken should be taken into consideration with ALL the FACTS. The driver indicated she was just trying to get through the group .. several protesters indicated the driver was flipping a inappropriate finger gesture at them AND may have even struck some of them. I do not believe violence to be appropriate, but some of the comments being made her are also inapproriate!

 

local reader wrote on December 05, 2014 at 8:12 am

The Illinois Rules of the Road state:  "Drivers and pedestrians both are responsible for traffic safety. Drivers should always be prepared to yield the right-of-way and should not drive unnecessarily close to pedestrians."  Additionally this was in a school zone.  http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a112.pdf 

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