Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just an update on two posts: The ten-year old who started one of the California fires and the fate of the students involved in the anti-war protest in suburban Chicago.

Regarding the California incident, there will be no charges filed against him. From the Associated Press today:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A 10-year-old boy who admitted starting a 38,000-acre fire last month that destroyed 21 homes in northern Los Angeles County will not be charged, prosecutors said.
There was no evidence of intent by the boy who accidentally ignited brush outside his home by playing with matches, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement Tuesday.
Authorities are referring the case to the Department of Children and Family Services to determine if further steps are necessary. No other information about the investigation was released because the case involves a minor.
The blaze was among more than a dozen major wildfires that blackened over 800 square miles from Los Angeles to the Mexican border. In all, 10 people were killed directly by the wildfires.
About a week after the fires were ignited, sheriff's department officials announced that they had interviewed the boy, who lived with his family in a trailer home on a ranch in Santa Clarita, and that he acknowledged starting the blaze.
Officials presented the case to the district attorney's office, but law experts had said prosecutors would have trouble getting a conviction against the boy because it would be difficult to prove intent to cause harm.

And in the West Morton High School case, the following from the Chicago Sun Times:

No students will be kicked out of a Berwyn public high school over an anti-war protest, the school superintendent said late Tuesday.

Of the 18 students suspended after a Nov. 1 sit-in at Morton West High School, 14 are due back today, Supt. Ben Nowakowski said in a statement. The remaining four, who Nowakowski said "bore more culpability for the disruption," can return Friday.

Many of the students had been threatened with expulsion.

"I don't regret the protest because I brought a lot of people to this question -- about Iraq and what it's doing to our country," senior Joshua Rodriguez said.

He and other suspended students and parents protested the possible expulsions, along with the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and other activists, garnering national attention.

Rodriguez and others insisted their protest -- both against the Iraq war and military recruiters at their school -- was peaceful.

"They did deserve some punishment but not eight days nor the threat of expulsion," said Adam Szwarek, whose son was suspended.

"I don't think [my son] made a mistake. There is still an issue here: the military recruiters that are allowed to run rampant throughout the school."

But Nowakowski said the students severely disrupted the school day, forcing him to lock down classes.

He insisted the punishment had nothing to do with clamping down on free speech.

My final comment:

I want to believe that at the end of the day, those whose fate lies in the hands of others can expect fairness; that those in charge will act responsibly and without prejudice - so that everyone: judge, jury and the accused are all satisfied that any ruling has been handed out deliberately and with merit.

Both these cases seem resolved as such - although one could argue in the West Morton case that even though the students' exoneration was the sought after result if I were those West Morton High School parents, I would still want an explanation as to the uneven intervention on the part of the students - I am still one to always emphasize process before product.


Julie Pippert said...

Thanks for providing those updates. I agree with you last two paragraphs.

Using My Words

minivan diaries said...

Thanks, Julie. It always bothers me when you hear about or read a news story and then you never find out how it ends.