The Attack on Young Black Girls Continue-13 Year old Honor Student Charged w/ a Felony

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.

-Davey D-

8th grader arrested, suspended over missing sunglasses

By Kerry Lester

Rochelle Raymond and her daughter, honor student Olivia who has charges levied on her by some ruthless teacher

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.

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Now that Lil Kim is Free Will She Fight For Other Prisoners?

Now that Lil Kim is Free Will She Fight For Other Prisoners?
by Davey D-

Davey D Archived articleLast week during the BET Awards, Lil Kim’s mother and brother came into the press gallery to field questions about her incarceration. They emphasized how unfair it was for her to be locked up and how the justice system is screwed up.

I think it was her brother who pointed out how all sorts of people who have committed heinous crimes do very little time, while Lil Kim got locked down for perjury. It was also pointed out how there are many who done more egregious white-collar crimes and have gotten off the hook.

When the BET press monitors finally called on me, I asked them what sort of plans they or Lil Kim had to do work with prison advocacy groups now that they’ve seen first hand how jacked up the system is. Could you imagine they type of attention some one like Lil Kim could bring to the plight of political prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal, Herman Bell or 2Pac’s father Matulu Shakur just to name a few of the many? Can you imagine the type of attention that she could bring to the plight of the legions of Black and Brown folks who routinely get railroaded by the system?

Lil Kim’s mother said she was not aware of any plans Lil Kim had in the works and they moved onto the next question. Granted things are still early and the Queen Bee is probably still recovering from her 10 month bid. However, it’s an idea that should be seriously considered. After all, her incarceration was highlighted with a BET reality TV show which netted high ratings.

Many big time celebrities ranging from comedian Kat Williams on down to celebrity gossip reporter and former MTV host Ananda Lewis have spoken out about how the system was unjust and was railroading Lil Kim. Very few of us within the community who have family and friends who have done time, would argue with the assessment. Ideally it would be nice if the spotlight to the criminal justice system doesn’t start and end with Lil Kim.

Now that shes out she has a great opportunity to bring attention to those who dont have a celebratory rap career. Hopefully she wont follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart, who talked about how unfair the system was and how she lived alongside women who were unfairly locked up, but once she left she went back to being the media diva and multi-millionaire business woman she was prior to going in.

lil kim

lil kim

If Kim speaks up, she would not be alone in terms of speaking out. In the past there have been a few rappers who have done prison advocacy work including Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa who back in the early days of his career routinely took a lot of brothers who were getting out the pen and put them to work. Many of them went on the road with him as he attempted to stir them away from their troubled environments. Later on artists like Ice T and MC Hammer did similar things. One of the reasons Hammer went bankrupt was because he had employed scores of people with nice paying jobs who were fresh out the pen. This was in addition to paying for cats lawyer fees and related expenses.

Of course we cannot overlook some of Hip Hops biggest champions of prison advocacy work, The Geto Boys, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Boots of the Coup and dead prez stand out. Many people don’t realize that over the years the Geto Boys along with Rap-A-Lot CEO James Prince have sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars paying for legal expenses in their attempt to get brothers out of prison. While their advocacy work hasn’t been well publicized, it was and is well-known by folks in power who have grown angry with the group for reaching out.

A couple of years ago I spoke with Bushwick Bill about this and he speculated that the groups willingness to underwrite legal fees and try and prove the innocence of those railroaded into Texas jails may be one of the reasons that Rap-A-Lot found itself being aggressively investigated by the feds several years ago. Things got so heated for them that Scarface launched a song putting them on blast and naming one of the chief haters within the FBI who was pursuing them. The song was called Look Into My Eyes. Later on Congress woman Maxine Waters intervened on their behalf to help turn the tide, but not before it set off a storm of controversy that landed on the feet of former Vice President Al Gore. But as Bushwick confidently pointed out their decision to help out folks behind bars is not one they regret or would change if they could do it all over again. What the Geto Boys was doing is ideally what more artists in their position should do, especially when you consider how out of the 2.5 million people on lock down damn near half come from our community.

A couple of years ago when Suge Knight was on lockdown he actually took out ads in several magazines offering to pay lawyer fees and related expenses to help get cats out of jail. In his ad he had noted that there were way too many innocent people on lock down who needed help and he was throwing his hat into the ring.

Michael Franti has not only dedicated entire albums to addressing the Prison Industrial Complex, but for the past 8 years he has done a 9-11 Festival which includes a free concert at Golden gate Park in San Francisco which draws more than 40 thousand people. The festival started off as a way to bring attention to the plight of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal and has since expanded in both concept and sheer number of people who show up. Over the years everyone from Digital Underground to Talib Kweli to KRS-One have all graced the stages of Franti’s 9-11 festival.

deadprez-uk-225The work of groups like the Coup and Dead Prezs is more than obvious and speaks for itself. Over the years Boots has not only done concerts to raise money for Prison advocacy groups, but he himself was known for doing his own political education classes to help bring people up to speed on impending legislation like California’s harsh 3 strikes law and later Prop 21-the juvenile justice bill, which allows for the incarceration of 14 year olds in adult prisons.

In the case of dead prez, their songs as well as their direct involvement and membership in organizations like the POCC (Prisoners of Conscience Committee) have set the standard for the type of work artists like Lil Kim can either support or be involved in. Both M-1 and Boots are quick to point out that they are organizers first and artists second. In fact during a recent Hip Hop conference at Stanford University, Boots noted that if Hip Hop wasnt the platform being embraced by people hood, he would be doing another genre of music, as long as he could reach the people that need him most.

Now granted Lil Kim may not be ready to do the type of work we associate with groups like dead prez or the Coup. However, it would be ideal if someone like her who has such high visibility and is now having the spotlight put on her because of her situation would consider taking things a step further by aligning herself with those who fight the prison industrial complex and criminal injustice system everyday.

what do you think?

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