The attack on young black girls continue. Tomorrow the nation will mourn as we bury 7 year old Aiyana Stanley Jones who was shot to death by a Detroit cop who went into the wrong house looking for a murder suspect after he they threw a flash grenade and in ‘showed off’ for a reality TV show filming the crew…What took place in Detroit is horrific.
In the Chicago suburb of Elgin we have the sad case of 13 year old Olivia Raymond an honor student who found her teachers glasses, grabbed hold of them to return them, but wound up being arrested and charged with a felony by her heartless teacher.. here are two stories outlining what took place…
When I first read this story about Olivia, my mind went back to the young sister 14 year old Shaquanda Cotton in Paris, Texas who several years ago was sentenced to 7 years in jail for shoving a hall monitor. She had no prior arrest record and many felt her harsh sentencing was in retaliation to her mothers activism where she spoke out about problems within the school. National attention got Shaquanda released after a year in jail.
8th grader arrested, suspended over missing sunglasses
An Elgin mother believes her daughter’s efforts to do the right thing caused her rights to be violated by Elgin police and school officials.
Olivia Raymond, a 13-year-old Ellis Middle School student, is facing a felony theft charge after a teacher accused her of stealing her pair of sunglasses last week. Elgin Deputy Police Chief Cecil Smith confirmed Raymond’s arrest but declined to comment further because the case involves a juvenile.
Elgin Area School District U-46 also declined to disclose details of the case, citing student privacy. But on a school discipline referral form, orchestra teacher Linda Szybeko wrote about Raymond, “She stole my prescription sunglasses, threw them in her purse.”
Raymond’s mother, Rochell Raymond, said Olivia was just trying to find the owner of the expensive sunglasses. The charge against Olivia is a felony because the prescription Ray-Ban glasses were valued at more than $300.
“This teacher, she looked at my daughter and she saw African-American and saw a criminal,” Rochell Raymond said.
Szybeko, who is white, did not return calls from the Daily Herald seeking comment.
Raymond said she got a call at her workplace in Niles about 11:30 a.m. last Thursday from Elgin police, informing her that her daughter – an honors student who plays the snare drum in the school band, is active in the Elgin Bible Church and hopes to join the armed services one day – had been arrested.
Panicked, she raced to meet her daughter at the station and found her “slumped over in a chair in an interrogation room in tears.”
The girl had been fingerprinted and photographed by police, suspended from school and stripped of her privileges to attend eighth-grade activities.
Rochell Raymond said Olivia told her she found a pair of sunglasses on top of her book bag, asked around and couldn’t find whose they were.
She didn’t want to be late to her next class, so she took the glasses with her, planning to put them on a table in front of the main office before lunch, a few periods later, the mother said.
But just a few minutes into second period, Rochell Raymond said, Szybeko came into Olivia’s class, said the sunglasses were hers and accused Olivia of stealing them.
After being called down to the main office, Olivia was told she would be suspended for theft and Szybeko might want to file criminal charges.
Olivia signed a school “behavior improvement form,” indicating that she had stolen the glasses. When asked to explain why, she wrote “I don’t know.”
Rochell Raymond contends Olivia was not allowed to contact her and her daughter was forced to sign the admission.
Citing student privacy laws, U-46 spokesman Tony Sanders said the district is unable to share any details about the incident.
“We are aware of it,” Sanders said. “We’ve been in discussions with the parents and are working on it and currently investigating.”
Rochell Raymond has asked for a meeting at the school with Szybeko, but that has been postponed. After the family spoke with Superintendent Jose Torres, Assistant Superintendent Greg Walker and Chief of Staff Barb Bonner, the suspension was wiped from Olivia’s record and her eighth-grade privileges were reinstated.
What remains are Olivia’s criminal charges. The family has hired both a defense attorney and private investigator to look into the incident, in hopes of getting the charges dropped. They’re also contemplating suing the district.
“In one respect as a taxpayer and a homeowner, I understand the financial difficulties (U-46) is under right now. But at the same time, that’s what civil litigation was created for,” Rochell Raymond said. “She has to know and understand her rights were violated. … What other options are they leaving me?”
Mom: Honor student facing felony charge for good deed
NBC Chicago reports on a 13-year-old Chicago honors student facing felony theft charges based on a teacher’s accusation.
Rochell Raymond says her daughter Olivia was just trying to do the right thing and says the whole situation is all a misunderstanding.
Olivia Raymond last week found a teacher’s pair of expensive prescription sunglasses lying around unprotected. Not wanting to be late for her next class by taking the time to stop at lost-and-found immediately, she said she put them in her purse with the intention of turning them in later.
But before she could do so, she was confronted in class by the teacher who “yelled at her [and] embarrassed her in front of the class,” Rochell Raymond recounted.
The girl was later arrested, accused of felony theft and suspended from school, according to a report in the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald.
“I’m angry because children have rights, and hers were violated in so many different ways. To have your assistant principal and a police officer sit you down in a room and tell you that you are guilty of theft, you’re going to believe the authorities,” the tearful mother said. “Where are the adults in this situation and why weren’t they thinking? In her 13-year-old mind, yes she will be in trouble for being late to class.”
Ellis Middle School later rescinded the disciplinary action and the teacher, Linda Szybeko, dropped the charges when Rochelle Raymond extended an offer to replace the glasses that at some point became scratched.
“I don’t know that Olivia scratched them, but at that point, it doesn’t matter.” Raymond said.
Upset with the media attention, however, Szybeko apparently changed her mind and moved forward to press charges.
That, the family fears, could have big ramifications on the teen’s future.
“Even if the criminal charges are dropped, to my understanding of the law, she will still have a record of arrest that we cannot do anything about until her 17th birthday,” Rochelle Raymond said.
Olivia Raymond, an honors student, plans to join the armed services and worries the felony record will hurt her career prospects.
Raymond’s lawyer, Steve Fagan, said the case now lies in the hands of the police department, which is reviewing the case and whether charges are necessary.
As for the teacher, Rochelle Raymond says she feels sorry for her.
“In my opinion, as an educator, she didn’t make wise decisions and she placed a value of sunglasses over the value of a child.”
Szybeko has not returned a call requesting comment.