As five death row inmates near their executions for participation in the Lucasville prison uprising, I speak to one of them from the supermax facility where he is held. He draws connections between the events there and the current hunger strikes at Pelican Bay and talks about his successful law suit and hunger strike to end indefinite detention without due process in Ohio. A brief synopsis of a complicated event and information about how you can find out more.
rail·road [reyl-rohd]: verb to convict (a person) in a hasty manner by means of false charges or insufficient evidence
In this episode, we hear the chronological story of the Ashley Williams case through the eyes of an investigator who has assembled hundreds of pages of official documents proving unconstitutional and illegal actions on the part of prosecutors. We also hear from Ashley’s original attorney, who was disposed of after she mounted a world-class defense. This show has reported on the case before, but never in this degree of detail.
(Click here to listen to the previous show about the Ashley Williams case.)
This episode, Huguenot High successfully gets one student advocate fired while attempting to illegally remove young organizers from the school.
(For the original story of how Latino students were segregated and searched, see the previous coverage of this story here.)
We Demand Language Access
Interpretation services must be provided so that every student and parent can communicate with any school official. The services must be professional, competent and neutral. The interpreter should have no role in the conversation except to interpret. It is unfair and unprofessional to have teachers, security guards or other disciplinary figures act as interpreters.
The grievance procedure must be translated into Spanish and distributed to all Spanish-speaking families.
When Spanish speaking parents enter the office, they must be treated with respect, not ignored. If there is not an interpreter immediately available and no faculty or staff who speaks Spanish, then there should be instructions written in Spanish that clearly outline how to request a meeting with interpretation. This interpretation must be provided in a timely fashion.
We Demand the Removal of Ms. Ortiz from the Staff
Ms Ortiz has consistently acted in a hostile and antagonistic manner towards Latino students and their families. It has reached the point that trust and confidence cannot be restored. Her presence undermines the ability of the students to learn. She must resign or be terminated from her position.
We Demand Clearly Defined Authority Structures
It must be clearly communicated what authority is granted to faculty and staff in regards to students. Students and their families have a right to know what disciplinary decisions can be made by teachers or security guards and which must be made by the principal or other administrators. This information must be put into writing and translated into Spanish.
We Demand That All School Personnel Stop Threatening Students With Deportation
No one on staff is trained to interpret or authorized to enforce federal immigration law. These threats are blatant bullying and detract from the ability of students to focus on learning. It must be written into school policy that these threats are prohibited and that disciplinary action will be taken against anyone making them.
We Demand Additional Training for Faculty
Given the climate of fear and hostility that has been created for Latino student, there is a clear and present need for additional staff development. This must include cultural sensitivity training and non-violent conflict resolution training.
We Demand that Faculty and Staff Respect the Privacy of Students
It is not appropriate for faculty or staff to comment on, document or threaten to share information about the private lives of students. This includes who they choose as friends and who they choose to date.
We Demand a Public Apology from Principal Barakat to the Latino Students
Principal Barakat must publicly apologize to the students and their families for the offenses described above and most especially for his actions in searching only Latino students after a recent fight in school, for singling Latino students out to be escorted to the buses in small groups and for threatening Latino students with deportation if they did not comply with his orders.