Thursday, October 31, 2013

Charter Schools Vs. Public Schools

It is the hottest debate regarding the education system in America. With Public School System's across the country, particularly in urban areas, garnering negative press for being woefully inadequate, charter schools have become all the rage. Many parents have gone so far as to put their children on waiting lists to attend these "alternative" schools. The question is. What are charter schools, and are they really better?

Charter schools are independent public schools allowed freedom to be more innovative, while being held accountable for improved student achievement. They foster a partnership between parents, teachers and students to create an environment in which parents can be more involved, teachers are given the freedom to innovate and students are provided the structure they need to learn, with all three held accountable for improved student achievement.  

Nearly one million names are on waiting lists to attend charter schools. This is a dramatic increase from last year.

In the 2011-12 school year, 610,000 names were on the list compared to 920,000 this year, according to a new survey by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Two years ago, the number was about 420,000.

“With public charter school waitlists approaching one million names, it’s heartbreaking for too many families hoping to send their child to a high-quality public charter school,” Nina Rees, NAPCS president and CEO, said in a statement. “Although the number of public charter schools is increasing rapidly this year an additional 275,000 students enrolled in charter schools this survey demonstrates that parental demand continues to outpace what is an already increasing supply.”

Charter schools are continually a point of controversy in education circles. Some critics argue that more federal money should be put into traditional public schools, instead of new charters. Still, proponents say that charter schools serve as a much needed alternative, especially for disadvantaged students.

“Despite research showing that the vast majority of charter schools either fare worse or do not differ significantly from traditional public schools in student growth in reading or math (75 percent and 71 percent, respectively), the public continues to believe that charter schools are a preferred alternative to public schools,” Jerusha O. Conner, assistant professor of education at Villanova University, told TakePart. “The market-based logic of competition coupled with anti-union sentiment, promulgated by popular films like "Won't Back Down" and powerful lobbying groups, has captured public opinion.”

Conner points out a recent study by Stanford University researchers which finds that charter school students in many states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania, perform worse than their peers in traditional public schools in both reading and math.

“However, families across the state [Pennsylvania] continue to flock to charter schools,” she said.

One reason for the rush to charter schools could be how traditional public schools are faring amid severe budget cuts. There’s overcrowding in classrooms, a decline in extracurricular programs, such as art and drama, and the elimination of school librarians and guidance counselors. 

 “I think the appeal of charter schools is present because of the amount of corruption and ineffective management found in some of the regular, large and small, public school districts across the nation,” Luis Gabriel Aguilera, a Chicago educator, told TakePart.

He points to teacher cheating scandals in Atlanta and the creation of teacher “rubber rooms” in New York and Chicago a place where teachers who face disciplinary charges sit, knit, and stare at the wall while collecting their full paycheck—as reasons why parents are seeking education alternatives.

Additionally, educators at charter schools are given more freedom to design curriculum, and administrators can hire non-union teachers. Parents also feel like they have more power over their child's education in charter schools. They get to choose a charter school instead of being told by a district to attend a neighorhood school that might not fit their child's needs.

While the Stanford study states that “the vast majority of charter schools in the United States are no better than public schools,” it also points out that some charters schools, are, in fact, improving.

This latest study is an updated version of Stanford’s initial 2009 report that examined charter schools. Then, researchers stated that only 17 percent of charter schools raised student math test scores above their traditional public school counterparts. That number is now 29 percent.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports that schools that have been operating for six or more years have “an average waiting list of 238 students.” Even schools that haven’t been in existence that long have, on average, 178 students waiting.

Charter schools are likely to continue increasing in popularity as parents tire of traditional public schools and more school districts and private partnerships invest in charters.

“Perhaps both ineffective management and corruption is what is bringing so much appeal to charters by the neighbors who don’t have, as some would say, clout, ‘pull’, etc. and the will to navigate a sometimes hostile, political, corrupt, absurd, and a land-mined terrain,” Aguilera said. “As a parent and educator, I would say that makes the charters rather appealing.”

Education starts at home, it is not only necessary but it is imparative that we start educating them before they enter the school system to give them a head start. Then once they're there we must cultivate relationships with their teachers to encourage open and honest dialogue. Your child should never be just another face in the crowd. Each and every person in your child's school should know who you are. The school setting doesn't matter as much the standard that we set for our children.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Trayvon Martin Halloween Costume

The death of Trayvon Martin, or should I say, the murder of Trayvon Martin, was arguably the most polarizing event in U.S history. Separating most American's along racial lines, and calling the justice in the American judicial system into question. No matter what your personal opinions are, those of us who are reasonable human beings must agree that regardless of color, and regardless of the racial implications, a child lost his life. Make no mistake about it. At the tender age of 17, Trayvon Martin was a child. 

From the moment George Zimmerman was found not guilty, there has been no shortage of disrespect, and disdain for Trayvon or his parents.
As if a victory in court was not enough, there has been a continued degradation of this dead child's memory as if his life were a punch line, and there seems to be no end.

Earlier this week a disturbing photo emerged on social media, portraying one young man dressed in black face as Trayvon Martin while another depicted George Zimmerman with a shirt that reads “Neighborhoo Watchman,” yes missing the “d” at the end.

With bullet wound and fake blood on the chest and all the young man poses all smiles as the faux “Zimmerman” points his gun posed finger to his costumed mate.

Apparently everyone in the photo thought it was funny as multiple photo emerged on the young lady’s Instagram account ( ktcimeno), which is coincidentally now private. But have no fear she also posted the shameless badoonery on her Facebook page.

Not only is this blatantly racially offensive on levels of the extreme but also completely disrespectful to the parents and family of Trayvon Martin, who’s life is now becoming a joke.

The life and death of Trayvon Martin is NOT a joke. 

I wonder what the response would have been if African-American's dressed up in Nichole Brown Simpson costumes for Halloween?


Open Your Eye

Many of us can see. But we don't all have vision. The ability to see is purely physical. But having vision means having the ability to look past what you physically see and focus on what you don't. 
Our brains are able to process beyond the realm of reason if and only if we are open to disregarding what we see, and believe in the possibilities. We must utilize our 3rd eye, and walk in faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)


Everybody Has One

Everybody has an opinion. Sometimes you ask for them, and sometimes you don't. We've all asked someone, at some time, some where what they think when we're faced with some of life's challenges. But the question is, and always has been. Who do you listen to? I believe that question is best answered by deciding who you shouldn't listen to. Drawing from my own personal experience, if I took every piece of advice that I had ever heard as if it was best for me, I wouldn't have married my wife. I would have never relocated to North Carolina from New York, and I would probably have been well into a long prison sentence. All of which are some of the best thing's that I have ever done, and in reference to the prison sentence never done. With that being said, there's a lot of good advice that I wish I had taken. The bottom line is. I may not be exactly where I want to be, but thank God I'm not where I could be.

When you decide to seek to the council of a friend, family member, or acquaintance, you will be doing yourself a grave disservice if you don't look at the source. The reason for this critical analysis is two fold in nature. Think about....
#1. How they dealt with the situation when they were confronted with it, if they have in fact, been confronted with it. There are some who were unsuccessful when they were faced with the same circumstance who will urge you to apply the same dubious advice that didn't work for them. Misery loves company.
#2. Does this person have your best interest at heart? Everybody that smiles in your face, and calls you friend, does not want to see you happy. Deep down inside you know who they are. If you don't. Pray for them to be revealed. 

Proverbs 13:20

20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.


Monday, October 28, 2013

A 5 Year Old Committed Suicide?!?!

This is definitely the most disturbing story that I have ever heard. So much so, that it doesn't even seem possible. For all of those conspiracy theorist's who want proof that the world is coming to an end. Here is your proof.

On June 23 in New Orleans, Brandajah Smith, an adorable, inquisitive, little 5 year old girl, needed milk for her cereal. But getting to the store and back was the kind of task that was easier to accomplish quickly without a little one in tow. So her mother, Ladericka Smith, set out alone and locked the door behind her, thinking that her little girl would be all right. Smith was obviously cognoscente of the danger that exists in the world because she locked the door. But she had no idea that sometimes the real danger was inside of the apartment.

By 10:50 a.m., Smith found Brandajah lying unconscious at the bottom of a bedroom closet with a bullet wound near the center of her forehead. But she was still breathing. The little girl found a .38 revolver belonging to the man with whom the family was staying.

Brandajah died a short time later after being taken off life support. Police arrested her mother and charged her with cruelty to a juvenile, and in June a grand jury indicted Smith on charges of second degree murder.

Brandajah's death has raised a number of troubling questions. In the nearly four months since her death, two possible explanations have emerged. In one version, her death was a tragic accident, the accidental shooting of a little girl with boundless curiosity and more than enough trauma in her short lifetime. The other version is even more tragic: a kindergartner's intentional suicide in the wake of a series of adult failures and possible crimes.

The suicides of young children remain in the realm of the exceedingly rare. But child welfare experts and legal observers say that Brandajah's death is an event worthy of national attention not simply because of its novelty, but because of the fact that it could be the beginning of a deadly trend. Poor children,  a group rapidly growing in the United States, face a far greater risk of being harmed by a firearm than their peers.

For now, America's solution to this problem seems to be placing bereaved parents under arrests when prosecutors suspect them of having failed in their most basic duty, to protect their children. But what are the nation's duties to these troubled families before the children die, and what are the nation's duties to ensure that justice is served?

Even before Brandajah died on that June day, almost nothing about her life could be described as ideal. Interviews with relatives, public and private records revealed that Brandajah frequently moved with her mother and 8-year-old sister, couch surfing at the homes of family and friends, according to a relative who spoke on a condition of anonymity. On more than one occasion, Smith spent time in jail after arrests for prostitution, theft and failures to appear in court or pay required fines.

Living with such turmoil may have been too much for Brandajah. At John Dilbert Community School, teachers and counselors filled the little girl's school records with alarming details. Information shared by Brandon Pierre, the girl's father, indicates that the school contacted state child-welfare officials multiple times. The school believed that the little girl was being sexually abused, and there was something else.

"She had expressed suicidal ideations to a school counselor," says Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Christopher Bowman, who serves as a spokesman for the area prosecutor's office. 

"She was apparently very, very close to her 8-year-old sister and apparently asked, 'If I kill myself, will I still see my sister?"

According to school records, officials at John Dilbert were so nervous, they assigned a school aide to shadow Brandajah. The aide's job: never leave the 5-year-old alone, not even for a trip to the bathroom, according to 

Prosecutors allege that Brandajah's mother was well aware of the school's concerns. School records indicate that the mother had been warned that staying with her cousin, a felon who has since been charged with illegal possession of a gun, simply was not safe.

Pierre says that he was unaware of Brandajah's troubles at school; he says no one shared the information in the school files with him until after his daughter's death. He also says that he did not see his daughter as often as he would have because his relationship with her mother was strained.

"Reading some of the things in that school  file, they made my stomach turn," he says. "I had no idea all of this was going on. But I wish to God that I had."

Ladericka Smith's criminal record and limited education made it difficult for her to get a job, a family member said. According to the relative, Smith, 28, also tried but wasn't able to sign up for welfare benefits. Smith is part of a large group of Louisianans who have been rejected from welfare rolls in the state

But lack of money wasn't Smith's only problem, her family member says. Sometimes Smith's priorities seemed out of whack. She argued with her family, but her children always mattered, the relative added. The girls, two of Smith's three children were almost always clean and well dressed, with their hair arranged in precise ponytails.

But on that morning when Smith dashed out for her milk run, she later told police, she didn't immediately head home. Instead, she told police, she got distracted, stopping en route to watch a street fight. Prosecutors also say Smith knew that the gun was in the house, that it was frequently kept under a pillow or on a shelf, unlocked and possibly accessible to little, curious hands.

"In this case, this mother did not own or use the gun that killed this child," says Kendall Green, chief of trials for the Orleans Public Defenders Office. "No one is saying she did everything right here. But there are real questions about how much this mother even knew about this gun or where it was."

In the interim, Smith remains in jail, unable to pay her bond.

The idea that a child as young as 5 might be suicidal is difficult to fathom, says Dr. Charles Zeanah Jr., vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at Tulane University. But children facing severe difficulties such as physical or sexual abuse, instability or violence in their home and other traumatic conditions can indeed feel a desire to harm themselves or even die, says Zeanah.

Suicide among preschool and even elementary school age children is, thankfully, extremely rare, he says. But warning signs should never be ignored. Children as young as Brandajah do not truly understand the permanency of death, Zeanah says. Nor can they grasp the real meaning of a fatal injury.

"There are two dangers in a case like this," says Zeanah. "One is that we dismiss it and think, 'Oh, young children can't be that troubled. They can't actually be depressed.' The other is that we assume that a 5- or 6-year-old is capable of understanding suicide the same way as a 35- or 40-year-old."

 The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services would not discuss efforts it made to investigate the school's concerns, share them with Brandajah's mother or father, remove Brandajah or provide services to her family. 

"As with any fatality where the department has a prior history with the family, DCFS is conducting an internal review into the death of Brandajah Smith," Trey Williams, a DCFS said.

In Louisiana, the state code does allow a person to be charged with second-degree murder if, while committing a felony, he or she unintentionally contributes to the fatal injury of a victim.

For Leon Cannizzaro Jr., the Orleans Parish district attorney, what police found, along with the details of Brandajah's DCFS and school records, was clear. A grand jury agreed, returning a second-degree-murder indictment against Laderika Smith.

The potential penalty for Brandajah's mother: mandatory life in prison.

In what legal experts say was a highly unusual move, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Judge Darryl Derbigny overrode Smith's murder indictment at a late September hearing. The district attorney filed notice with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals indicating that he would appeal the lower court's ruling. The process could take months to conclude.

"This mother did everything but put the gun in the child's hand," says Bowman, with the prosecutor's office. "She knew the child was in distress. She knew there was a weapon in the house, and she knew that her daughter knew where it was located. And then she left her alone."

The prosecutor's decision does not sit well with everyone watching the case.

"Listen, without any doubt, there are a lot of questions that can be asked about why a 5-year-old was left at home alone with a gun," says D. Majeeda Snead, a longtime New Orleans criminal defense attorney and clinical professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Snead is not directly involved in the case. "But I also think there may be some other questions that need to be asked and answered here. Did the broader system of child services fail her, or did the system fail this family, long before this child died?"

The fact of the matter is, it is a combination of both. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Principals Before Profit

Okay people, some of us have made this man a half a billionaire by listening to, purchasing, an reading anything that has anything to do with him or his music. It is because of your support that he has become a pop icon. Now when faced with criticism over his prospective deal with a company that is almost as famous for its racism as it is for its expensive clothing, and accessories, he seems to be hesitant to support those who have supported him.

Jay-Z is under increasing pressure to back out of a collaboration with the luxury store Barneys New York after it was accused of racially profiling two black customers said Saturday he's being unfairly "demonized" for just waiting to hear all of the facts.

The rap mogul made his first statement about the controversy in a posting on his website. He has come under fire for remaining silent as news surfaced this week that two young black people said they were profiled by Barneys after they purchased expensive items from their Manhattan store.

An online petition and Twitter messages from fans have been circulating this week, calling on the star to bow out of his upcoming partnership with Barneys for the holiday season, which will have the store selling items by top designers, inspired by Jay-Z, with some of the proceeds going to his charity. He is also working with the store to create its artistic holiday window display.

But Jay-Z.  whose real name is Shawn Carter, defended himself, saying that he hasn't spoken about it because he's still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

"I move and speak based on facts and not emotion," the statement said. "I haven't made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?" he said, referring to local newspaper headlines.

The two Barneys customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said this week they were detained by police after making expensive purchases.

Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April. Philips filed a notice of claim saying she would sue after she was stopped by detectives outside the store when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.

As the criticism grew, Barneys said Thursday it had retained a civil rights expert to help review its procedures. The CEO of Barneys, Mark Lee, offered his "sincere regret and deepest apologies."

Kirsten John Foy, an official with the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, said he would meet with Barneys officials on Tuesday to discuss the racial profiling allegations.

Jay-Z who rose from a life of crime in Brooklyn to become one of the most heralded rappers and one of entertainment's biggest superstars, has in the past called for a boycott of labels perceived to be racist, and has become more political in recent years, from speaking out about the killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin to campaigning for President Barack Obama.

Jay-Z said in this case, he's still trying to find out what happened which is why he was silent.

"The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn't want to make without the full facts," he added.

He also dismissed reports that he would profit from the collaboration. He said he's "not making a dime" from working with Barneys. Instead, his Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides college scholarships to economically challenged students, will get 25 percent of all sales from the collaboration.

"This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning," he said. "My idea was born out of creativity and charity... not profit."

He also said that "making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project wouldn't hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter but all the people that stand a chance at higher education," he said. "I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn't harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration."

Jay-Z said he understood what it felt like to be racially profiled but also didn't want to jump to unfair conclusions.

"I am against discrimination of any kind but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it's towards, aren't I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?" he asked. "I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change."

Earlier Saturday, Sharpton held a rally at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, saying black New Yorkers should put shopping at Barneys "on hold" if the retailer's response is inadequate.

But it is not the only retailer accused of racially profiling its customers.

Some Sharpton supporters who attended Saturday's rally said they had been profiled in other stores, too. Shane Lee, 51, said he went to the high-end store Bergdorf Goodman to buy shirts last year and the sales staff would not assist him.

"Instead of helping me, they were staring at me," said Lee, who is black. "I felt so uncomfortable that I just left."

A Bergdorf Goodman official did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.

On Friday, Rob Brown, a black actor on the HBO series "Treme" said he was stop because of his race while shopping at Macy's flagship Manhattan store. Brown said in his lawsuit that he was detained nearly an hour by police June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.

Macy's didn't comment on the litigation but said in a statement it was investigating.

Let's see if Jay-Z stands with his fans or finds a reason to stand against them.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Just When You Thought You Heard It All News (10-26-2013)

 If you're reading this, and you don't have a High School diploma, or a GED as of this second, you have no excuse. Not that you had a good one in the first place. 
But if you don't have a High School Diploma of a GED, you probably can't read this anyway, so never mind!

It's nearly impossible to watch Bill and Josie Mohr without cracking an enormous smile. Their happiness is too contagious. 

The couple from Philadelphia has a lot to be happy about. They just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and Bill's 105th birthday. And if that wasn't enough, last Sunday, Bill earned his high school diploma.

The World War II veteran had to leave Saint Joseph's Preparatory School when he was 15 years old to help his parents out. Work and eventually the war kept him from graduating.

But Bill Connors, Prep's president, wanted to change that. Connors said that if Mohr had graduated on schedule, he'd have celebrated his class' 85th anniversary this year. Connors simply had to get him that diploma.

Mohr was overwhelmed with gratefulness to finally be honored. 

“If I die tomorrow, I’m not going to ask the Lord for anything. He has given me everything I need over the years, I can hardly say much more than that."

When I was in school sometimes I wondered what my teachers were like when they weren't in class. But when I actually saw one of them laughing and joking in a restaurant as if they didn't just torture 27 children hours earlier I realized that I really didn't want to know. But that was nothing compared to this.

A University of Iowa teaching assistant on Tuesday reportedly inadvertently sent nude photos of herself to students in her class , and UI officials now are looking into the incident and taking “appropriate action.”

UI students across campus were spreading the news via Twitter on Wednesday morning.

“A Math for Business TA apparently sent her entire class nudes of her and her boyfriend,” one person wrote. “Please tell me I know someone in that class.”

In an emailed statement, UI spokesman Tom Moore said, “We can confirm that a teaching assistant sent an email with inappropriate content to her students.”

Moore said in the statement that “the individual who sent the messages has stated that it was an accident. She regrets her actions.”

The UI is asking the students who received the message to delete it and not to share it with anyone else. Although the photos already were being spread via social media Wednesday morning.

“This incident was inappropriate, and the university will look into it and take appropriate actions under our policies and procedures,” according to Moore.

According to, which claims to be the “No. 1 college comedy website,” the teaching assistant sent an email to students that she meant to include attached answers for a homework assignment.

Instead, according to the website, the attachments were a series of nude photos “featuring the female TA and male counterpart – possibly screenshots from a sex video.”

A copy of the TA’s email obtained by the website reads, “Hi class, I attach the solutions for number 76 and 78 in this email. Best.”

The photos are described as being images from a video chat that are sexual in nature, according to

A student in the class told the website that the TA was in back in class on Wednesday.

“The TA was teaching her 7:30 discussion session this morning trying to act like nothing happened but clearly very rattled. No one said anything about it but it was just extremely awkward,” the student said, according to

Twitter posts Wednesday said the TA sent the pictures to 80 students. Many of the dozens of comments on the social networking website poked fun at the slip-up.

“Someone should tell this math TA what folders are,” one person wrote. “Create one for nudes and one for math problems. Never ever mix the two up.”

Another person wrote, “Not every day your math TA accidentally sends nudes to half the class.”

One student commented, “Awkward class tomorrow.” And still another person quipped, “Soooo my problems don’t seem so bad.”

Dave Visin, associate director for UI police, said his office is not at this time investigating whether the TA’s account was hacked.

When asked about the incident on Wednesday, UI President Sally Mason said, “It was a sad mistake on her part.”

So so we're clear. TA stands for Teacher's Assistant not Tits & a......!

Some people are just plain stupid. Other people are just plain crazy. But Walter Serpit is both.

Budweiser phased out its "Real Men of Genius" commercials in 2008. They were my favorites. A bunch of idiot dudes doing idiotic things that they deemed important. This man may be enough to bring them out of retirement.

In that vein, today I salute you, Mr. "Run Into a Burning Building To Save A Beer" man. While others are fearing for their safety and wondering what to do, you courageously dive back into the inferno, jeopardizing your own safety, and possibly the safety of firefighters, for just one more six pack.

That real-life man of genius is Walter Serpit, a Columbus, Ga., resident who was watching television at his house Thursday afternoon, when a new water heater is believed to have started a fire. As the room filled with smoke, Serpit, five other adults and two children escaped to safety.

Once clear of the structure, though, Serpit had other things on his mind. It wasn't the possible loss of family photos, beloved pets or family heirlooms. No, Serpit ventured back into the burning building to rescue some beers.

"I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out. I went back into the house like a dummy and the door shut on me because this back draft was about to kill me."

Not sure if this is more sad than funny. But it's definitely weird.

Fortunately, he escaped the inferno once more without injury, this time with a couple beers in tow.

No one was harmed in the incident.


Thursday, October 24, 2013


An African-American teenager  claims that a snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he bought............. a $349 belt.

Trayon Christian, 19, told the local media he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by staffers at Barneys’ Madison Ave. flagship store and detained by police because they didn’t believe a young black man could possibly afford to buy such an expensive belt.

I can't believe that a young Black man would buy such an expensive belt. Then again, yes I can.

The fashion-forward teen, who lives with his mom in Corona, Queens, is studying engineering at the New York City College of Technology, where he had a work-study job.

Christian said his paycheck had just been direct deposited into his Chase bank account, so he went straight to Barneys on the afternoon of April 29 to buy the pricey Ferragamo belt with a silver buckle and a reversible black and white strap.

“I knew exactly what I wanted,” Christian said. He’d seen the belt on a lot of his favorite celebrities, including rapper Juelz Santana.

He said he’d browsed the ritzy rags at Barneys before but had never bought anything at the store.

“It was a quick trip. I gave them my debit card, I signed my name,” he said.

According to his lawsuit, the clerk asked Christian to show his ID, which he did.

“I showed my state ID,” he told The News.

After buying a designer belt at the flaship Barneys department store in New York, Trayon Christian was detained and then arrested by undercover cops who the teen says told him the card had to be fraudulent because he couldn't have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.After buying a designer belt at the flaship Barneys department store in New York, Trayon Christian was detained and then arrested by undercover cops who the teen says told him the card had to be fraudulent because he couldn't have afforded the Ferragamo accessory.

The clerk didn’t react as he signed for his purchase and left, he said.

But he got no more than a block from the store when two undercover NYPD detectives stopped him near E. 60th St., the lawsuit said.

“They said my card wasn’t real, it was fake. They said someone at Barneys called to report it,” said Christian.

The male detectives — whose names he never learned — asked to see ID and look in his bag, he said.

They also asked him if he worked, and where.

“I showed them my school ID and my driver’s license,” said Christian, who was 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.

“I kept thinking, ‘Why is this happening to me?’” he said.

“The detectives were asking me, ‘How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?’” he said.

He was handcuffed and taken to the 19th Precinct stationhouse, he said.

According to his lawsuit, he was detained in a holding cell for about two hours.

He was then released with his debit card, his belt and an apology from the police, Christian said.

A spokeswoman for the NYPD denied Christian was detained for two hours, saying he was brought into the precinct at 7:04 pm and was allowed to leave at 7:45 pm

“Mr. Christian was held in police custody for approximately 42 minutes and as soon as we determined that the card was authentic, he was immediately released,” said Inspector Kim Royster.

He was never charged, according to his attorney.

“I was nervous the whole time, but not really scared because I knew I had done nothing wrong,” said the teen.

After he got home, he got angry.

“I brought the belt back to Barneys a few days later and returned it. I got my money back, I’m not shopping there again,” he said. “It’s cruel. It’s racist.”

The October 23, 2013 cover of the NY Daily News.

Calls to Barneys, which is led by CEO Mark Lee, were not returned.

The city Law Department said it hadn’t seen the court papers yet.

“We are awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and will review the claims upon receipt,” said Elizabeth Thomas, a Law Department spokeswoman.

The NYPD said it has gotten 53 grand larceny complaints this year for credit card fraud at Barneys’ Madison Ave. store and has made more than 47 arrests. But it’s unclear how many of those arrested were actually charged with a crime and how many were, like Christian, released.

Plainclothes officers visit Barneys periodically because of problems with fraudulent use of cards, the NYPD said.

Christian’s attorney Michael Palillo said the teen, who now works at Target, has a clean record.

“He’s never been arrested. His only crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt,” the lawyer said.

The student’s Facebook page shows pictures of a fashion-loving teen. In some, Christian is sporting various belts with buckles encrusted with glittering “F’s” — but it’s not clear if they are also Ferragamo items.

He’s also seen posing for selfies in a series of baseball caps that have been color-coded to match his clothes, with a gold chain and an earring peeking out.

Christian’s mother, Selena Christian, said she was outraged at the upscale store’s treatment of her son.

“Barneys said his card was stolen, they said he shouldn’t have that much money in his account,” said the 40-year-old school bus driver. “I am shocked. He’s a good kid.”

The hardworking mother could find only one reason for her son to be singled out after he’d shown ID to the Barneys staffer.

“It’s because he’s an African-American,” she said. “It’s wrong. They shouldn’t have done this.”

Being publicly questioned, searched and handcuffed and then detained in a police precinct cell caused Christian “great physical and mental distress and humiliation,” the lawsuit said.

“His reputation and character were injured and he was embarrassed,” the court papers said.

The incident was due to the “negligence, careless[ness] and recklessness of Barneys” and the undercover detectives, the lawsuit alleges.

Christian is suing the NYPD and Barneys for unspecified damages.

This incident is not a surprise at all. Racial profiling in upscale stores, and racial profiling in general is despicable. But unfortunately it has become part of the fabric of our society. It will never change.

Perhaps the thing that I love the most about writing the PRBrown Report is that I get to ask the questions that many of you are thinking. Questions like. 

Why would a young man who works in Target and lives with his mother in Corona, Queens New York, purchase a $349 belt?! Does anyone besides me find that irresponsible, crazy, and a huge waste of money. What is even crazier to me is the fact that the entire planet seems to turn a blind eye to the fact that this you man has little or no money management skills. His purchase speaks to a much larger issue. 

Much has been said in terms of the disparity in the Black community. But the fact that many of use squander or hard earned money on foolishness is rarely discussed. If each and every African-American in America was given wages equal to or even greater than their white counterparts, it won't  make a difference if it is not properly managed.


Side Bar: NO WAY!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who Killed The Baby?

So, Adrian Peterson's 2 year old son was beaten to death by his mothers low life boyfriend on a Friday, and the whole world wondered why he played football 2 days later. Peterson who is the star running back for the Minnesota, Vikings never even met his son before he was on his death bed in intensive care. Yet the general consensus is that he should have feigned sympathy for a son that he never knew. Let's be honest. If simply fathering a child suddenly gave every man some kind of special emotional attachment. The percentage of African-American households headed by single mothers would not be 75 percent.
I can only imagine how odd it must have been for Peterson to face such an ackward reality. The pressure of being forced by society to conform to social norms that may not even be genuine, and the inevitable guilt that goes along with wondering if, had he played an active role in this child's life, would he still be alive.
This is in no way a sympathetic plea for Adrian Peterson. According to media reports it was only recently that he found out about this little boys existence. That in and of itself speaks to an extreme lack of accountability. To have spilled his seed inside of so many different women that he cannot keep track of which of them bore the fruit of his irresponsibility is quite telling to say the least. For this, Adrian Peterson ultimately bares some of the responsibility for his sons death by not being there to protect him. He failed this child.

This little boy's mother moved in with a man that she obviously didn't know and put her 2 year old sons life in danger in the process. Unfortunately her bad judgement led to deadly consequences.

Police arrested Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, who was initially charged with aggravated assault and aggravated assault on an infant. Sioux Falls police said additional charges are being considered. 
Patterson has a prior domestic abuse record with a different woman and child, having pleaded guilty to simple assault in an incident last year involving an adult female and juvenile male.

Sioux Falls police said Patterson recently started a relationship with the mother of the 2-year-old victim. Patterson appeared in court a week later in Canton, S.D. His bond had been set at $750,000 in cash before the boy's death.

Sioux Falls police said the incident was initially reported as a medical emergency.

"As officers and first responders got there, they found child was unresponsive and he was taken to the hospital," police spokesman Sam Clemens said,
"So they ended up calling police about that or letting them know. We had detectives talk to quite a few people to try to figure out what happened. What they ended up finding was that when the injuries happened there was one person with that child, and that person was Joseph Patterson. The injuries they found were head injuries.  It was obvious to medical staff that abuse had taken place and that those injuries weren't accidental."
Clemens said police believe the child's mother was "gone for a short time, and that's when we believe the injury occurred."

Court records show that Patterson has a son with another Sioux Falls woman, and also show that the mother had asked for protection orders twice, claiming he'd choked and punched her, threatened her with a knife and held her in the bedroom against her will. The mother chose not to pursue permanent protection orders, which ultimately were dropped voluntarily in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Patterson was charged with simple assault against the mother, however, and was ordered to undergo family violence training and to stay away from her until completing it.

Another woman applied for a protection order against Patterson in 2004 in Jackson County, where he attended high school.

This man is a violent felon with an extensive criminal history, and this baby's mother ( a two year old is a baby to me), left him in the hands of a monster.
She failed him.

As for Joseph Patterson, the murderous child killer who sees fit to take his frustrations out on every child that he meets. His soul is required in hell!


The Nevada School Shooting

There is nothing that I hate writing about more than a school shooting. The words school, and shooting don't even belong in the same sentence. But unfortunately it seems as if they share a headline every few months, and we all share the horror.

 A student opening fire with a handgun he took from his parents. Screaming students running for cover. A teacher, trying to help, shot dead. Two students wounded. The terror lasted just a few brutal minutes.

As authorities investigated, details were still trickling out hours after a deadly shooting Monday at a Nevada middle school.

One official described the scene at Sparks Middle School with one word: chaos.

Students described to CNN how they ran into the school screaming and crying when they realized the pops they heard were gunshots just before the morning bell welcomed them back from fall break.

The shooter took a handgun from his parents, a federal law enforcement source who was briefed on the situation told CNN's Evan Perez.

The gunman eventually shot and killed himself with the semiautomatic gun, Sparks Deputy Chief Tom Miller said Monday evening at a news conference.

Teachers train to face school shooter

Authorities said the shooter's motive was unclear.

"It's too early to say whether he was targeting specific people or just going on an indiscriminate shooting spree," said Tom Robinson, deputy chief of the Reno Police Department.

Mike Landsberry, a popular math teacher at the school, was killed in the shooting, Sparks Mayor Geno Martini told the local media.

In addition to his work as a teacher, Landsberry also had served in the Marines and served several tours in Afghanistan as a member of the Nevada Air National Guard. 

"He was the kind of person that if someone needed help he would be there," His brother, Reggie Landsberry said. "He loved teaching. He loved the kids. He loved coaching them. ... He was just a good all-around individual."

Reggie Landsberry said his brother was probably trying to "talk the kid down and protect whoever he could. That sounds like Mike."

One student told local reporters that she knew the student who shot Landsberry and wounded two 12-year-old schoolmates.

"He was really a nice kid," Amaya Newton told CNN. "He would make you smile when you were having bad day."

He even offered to buy other students something to cheer them up, Newton said.

Newton said she thought the two students who were wounded were friends of the shooter.

She and her mother, Tabatha, said they thought the shooter had been bullied in the past.

Student Faith Robinson said she was standing to the side of one of the school buildings where she heard shots and saw Landsberry killed. She said that she ran into the school and was separated from her friends.

"I start getting really worried and then I was trying to get a hold of my Mom," she said.

Terra Robinson was just a few minutes away when she got her daughter's distressing call.

By the time she got to the school there was a sea of flashing lights and panicked parents, she said.

The superintendent of Washoe County Schools said there were many heroes.

"Including our children who, even though school hadn't started, when the teachers came out, they listened to them and they went into their classrooms immediately," 

Student Thomas Wing said he was walking out of the cafeteria after eating breakfast when he saw a gun.

He said that Landsberry was trying to get the student to put the weapon down. After a gunshot, Thomas started running back toward the cafeteria. He heard another shot.

"I was thinking, oh my gosh, am I going to get out of this? Am I going to die? My heart was pounding faster than I could run."

An emergency dispatch calls released by the Sparks police department indicate Landsberry was shot on the school playground.

One wounded student was shot in the stomach, and the other injured student was shot in the shoulder, Washoe County School District Police Chief Mike Mieras said. The two 12-year-old boys were both in stable condition Monday night, Miller said.

Does your child's school have a security plan?

Authorities said that first responders were at the school just three minutes after the initial 911 calls.

"I think we were well-prepared. Everybody responded appropriately. I think our first responders did a heckuva job, but it's a sad day for the city of Sparks," Mayor Martini is quoted as saying.

City officials said authorities received emergency calls from students and staff at the school about 7:15 a.m. about an active shooter on campus.

Guns, guards and posses: Schools try new security strategies

Authorities said students were taken to a nearby high school to meet their parents. School was canceled for the week at Sparks Middle School and for the day at nearby Agnes Risley Elementary, officials said.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning," Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement. "My administration is receiving regular updates and the Nevada Highway Patrol is assisting at the scene. Kathleen and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims and those affected by these tragic events."

The shooting is one of several this year at a U.S. middle or high school. Last week a student at a high school in Austin, Texas, killed himself in front of other students. In August, a student at a high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, shot and wounded another student in the neck.

Another shooting occurred at an Atlanta middle school in January, the same month a California high school student wounded two people, one seriously.

The Nevada shooting also comes almost a year after a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, igniting nationwide debate over gun violence and school safety.

The mother of a student killed in December's shooting in Newtown said Monday's shooting was reminder of the need to find solutions to keep students safe.

"The unthinkable has happened yet again, this time in Sparks, Nevada," Nicole Hockley said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the children of Sparks Middle School, who today came face to face with violence that no child should ever experience. It's moments like this that demand that we unite as parents to find common sense solutions that keep our children -- all children -- safe, and prevent these tragedies from happening again and again."

Perhaps the saddest and most disturbing thing about this latest shooting is the fact that The NRA will still claim that had teachers been armed lives would have been saved. As if more guns equals less violence. This always has and always will be mathematically impossible.