Friday, September 21, 2007

I've wondered about two stories that have come up in the news lately - one is the story about the kids who beat up a boy who was knocked unconscious, his face badly swollen and bloodied, though he was able to attend a school function later that night. The other is about kids who were football players here in Verona and beat up a boy from another town till he was unconscious and was sent to The University Hospital in Newark with numerous facial wounds and broken bones.
The main difference in these two stories is the one in Jena is the first one - some boys who beat up a boy - not badly, but enough to make him see red, obviously. The boys were black, the "victim" was white and had somewhat incited the black kids by allegedly helping hang nooses on a tree where a black boy had asked permission to sit under, since it was the "white kids' " tree. The boys were charged with attempted murder, which was reduced to battery for all but one, yet to be arraigned, after the entire country seems to have heard about it and got up in arms.
Our locals - three 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old, all Verona High School students - were charged with second-degree assault. The big story in the papers about them? They all have transferred to other townships and are attending schools there, complaining that they have to stop playing football because of their felonies. The other schools are in Bloomfield, North Arlington and East Orange. DePaul, in East Orange (yes, there is a big difference - mostly in diversity) is the one who has the student raising the most fuss - his mother saying that the atmosphere against her son (poor thing) in Verona is "toxic".
I'm wondering just what the racial balance was in the Verona slugfest...

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