Chicago Tribune reporter on his story on Shaquanda Cotton

03/27/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

  In Paris, Texas last year, a 14 year old black girl  who shoved a  hall monitor was sentenced by a judge to prison for up to 7 years – while conversely, that same judge sentenced a 14 year old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family's house, to probation. Shaquanda Cotton was a 14 year old freshman a year ago who shoved a hall monitor at Paris High School in a dispute over entering the building before the school day had officially begun.

The youth had no prior arrest record, and the hall monitor--a 58-year-old teacher's aide--was not seriously injured. But Shaquanda was tried in March 2006 in the town's juvenile court, convicted of "assault on a public servant" and sentenced by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville to prison for up to 7 years, until she turns 21.

Just three months earlier, Superville had sentenced a 14-year-old white girl, convicted of arson for burning down her family’s house, to probation.
 16 days ago , Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Witt wrote a story about the  situation in  Paris, Texas.  Since then, he’s said that the blogosphere, particularly the African American blogs , have made this a huge national story.  WMNF spoke to him a short time ago from his office at the Chicago Tribune (roll tape # 1 o.q.”touched a nerve among people”) That’s Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Witt.  He wrote the story 16 days ago in the Chicago Tribune about then 14 year old Shaquanda Cotton, sentenced to 7 years in prison for shoving a hall monitor before the first day of school last year. 

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