And then there is the case that most troubles Cherry and leaders of the Texas NAACPinvolving a year-old black freshman, Shaquanda Cotton, who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun. Inside the youth prison in Brownwood where she has been incarcerated for the past 10 months--a prison currently at the center of a state scandal involving a guard who allegedly sexually abused teenage inmates--Shaquanda, who is now 15, says she has not been doing well. Not everyone in Paris agrees, however, that blacks are treated unfairly by the city's institutions. Instead of ruffled bloomers, she wears a hot-pink angora jumper; instead of a saloon, she plies her trade in a dingy Houston peepshow booth. Retaliation alleged "Shaquanda started getting written up a lot after her mother became involved in a protest march in front of a school," said Sharon Reynerson, an attorney with Lone Star Legal Aid, who has represented Shaquanda during challenges to several of the disciplinary citations she received. If I look at all three of these sentences, and I'm no t a lawyer, I have to wonder what the judicial system is doing.
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To some in Paris, sinister past is back
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--behaviors that she said were manifestations of Shaquanda's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which the teen was taking prescription medication. 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 percent of the district's nearly 4, students, were singled out for excessive discipline. Nor does Shaquanda herself 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. Sometimes it takes a foreigner to forge true Americana, even in the forbidding Reaganite environment of the mids. Not everyone in Paris agrees, however, that blacks are treated unfairly by the city's institutions. I felt she needed medical help. In this particular case, what is this judge doing?