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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Student attacked for anti-illegal immigration stance

Usually, when teachers assign politically charged homework, students are supposed to rigidly toe the liberal line. I guess Melanie Bowers didn't get the message, because she decided to do her project on anti-illegal immigration. Her poster said, "If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration." A group of latino students got angry, and jumped her in the hallways, hitting her, and threatening to rape and kill her. When Melanie reported the incident and asked to call her parents, school officials refused and told her to go back to class. Unbelievable on so many levels. Here's the story:
It was an assignment for history class--to make a protest sign for or against an issue, and Melanie said she chose illegal immigration. Her sign read, "If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration." Somehow, Melanie said the sign got passed around lunch and angered a group of Latino students.

"I didn't know any of these people," she said. One young, she claimed, jumped on her back and he put her in a choke hold. "We have brick walls in the middle school and he slammed my face on the bricks."

Melanie said a group of boys also threatened to rape and kill her. Eventually, the boys let her go and when she went for help, she was ordered back to class, and told she could not call her parents, she said.

"They handled this wrong, you know, they put a child back in danger," said J.R. Bowers. "It was a very racially motivated crime."

Athens ISD gave KLTV 7 a statement, confirming there was a disturbance in the hallway, Friday between two to three students. "We have a camera system in the building," said Louis DeRosa. "We are collecting other information and statements from witnesses and this is all the information we have at this time," he said.

Melanie and her parents said they just hope the right thing is done...and quickly.

"I won't be happy until the kids that did this are out of school," Bowers said.

There are a lot of troubling questions about this incident. First of all, why weren't there any faculty members around to break up this fight? Mr. DeRosa said that they have a camera system in the building; is it not being monitored? How was it that no one saw a bunch of teenage boys attacking a girl? How was it there was no one there to defend her?

Second, if a girl has just been attacked by a bunch of teenage boys and goes and reports it school officials, why in the hell was she sent back to class? Why were her parents not immediately notified? Why would they put her in more risk knowing what had just happened?

The students are the ones at fault her, but school officials have a lot of explaining to do. And the students responsible for this attack should be expelled, plain and simple. Anything less would be, at the very least, irresponsible -- Bower's safety will be at risk until these students are gone.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: Well, it turns out the girl made it all up. Way to go, honey. Way to go.
Charges are being filed against 13 year old Melanie Bowers by Athens ISD through the Henderson County District Attorney's office for filing a false report, said AISD officials today.

Bowers claimed earlier this week that she was beaten and threatened - with killing and rape, no less - by a group of students at Athens ISD last Friday, for creating a protest sign saying, "If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration."

After Melanie's accusations, administrators reviewed school survellience videotape of the incident - which, instead of showing students beating or attacking her, showed Bowers scratching herself on her arms, face, and neck, and walking through the halls of the school calmly long after she claimed the incident happened.

After Melanie's parents were presented with that information and the video, the school confronted Melanie, and she admitted that she made the story up.

The poster was indeed taken from Melanie, but she reported the incident to a teacher and was sent back to class. 3 students involved in taking Melanie's project were in 'in school suspension' for today only.

Bowers' parents have apologized to school administrators for their daughter, and Bowers' father, Gary Bower Jr., is agreeing with the charges against her. "I have reviewed the recording and agree with the charges that will need to be filed," he has said today.

Melanie's mother, Shera Bowers, released a statement which reads, "I see my daughter was not assaulted, and put the marks on her body. No gang violence as witnessed. She filed a false report."

Thanks to Wizbang commenter Thumbelina for pointing this one out. And this girl, Melanie Bowers, should get in some serious trouble for this pulling this. Kudos to her parents for not making excuses for their daughter.


Wayne said...

Gee, and my wife said people were overreacting when they got agitated over the Absolut ad...

KimWW said...

I suppose I can't go around posting to every educationally inclined blog entry "This is why I home-school" but...well...

I am glad she's ok, and you had better believe I would do something about this if it were my daughter.

Baz said...

School administrations are very broken. There's this plus a thousand other examples. This could have been a very "teachable moment," but sadly...

Skinner: Am I a good Principal?
Superintendent Chalmers: You're the best we could get with the funds at our disposal.

The school's response was completely inadequate, so how do we get people who are up to the task?

I have no issue with folks who want to home-school, but the point is that you shouldn't feel like you have to home-school to get a good education.

On the other hand, 50% of new teachers leave the profession in their first three years. Pay, benefits, and workload are much better in the for-profit sector. Teachers also suffer from the mismanagement going on at the admin level. So why should good, competent people stay? There are a few who are simply very dedicated (like my wife), but they're very few.

An unfortunate situation for everyone.

Angry White Guy said...

Well, This is a shame. The ONLY good side is that they have a lovely lawsuit against the district...

Jarrod said...

On the news tonight it showed her scratching her own face and arms and crap from the school security cams. Some kids did take her sign and probably said some stuff to her, but she kinda made the rest up.

mkfreeberg said...

Had a little voice going off in my head telling me not to blog this one, and now I know why.

Ugh. Worst possible outcome. I was looking forward to seeing "If you love America, stop illegal immigration" tee shirts and bumper stickers. Not gonna happen now.

KurtP said...

I have to compliment the parents for standing up to what's right.

It's a refreshing contrast to the 'dam' who squirted out the crotchfruit who decided to film themselves assulting someone who "dissed'" them on MySpace- and made the comment that it was "ok because she dissed my snowflake".

Angry White Guy said...

And now, the only down-side is that at 18, her record will be sealed...