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Posted on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board to consider resolution in support of students charged in football brawl

By Danielle Arndt


Huron High School athletic director Dottie Davis, center, stands between Huron football coach Cory Gildersleeve, far left, and Pioneer coach Paul Test, far right, as a fight breaks out between players and coaches on Oct. 12, 2012.

Daniel Brenner |

The Ann Arbor Board of Education will consider a resolution to support three students criminally charged following an on-field football brawl at Pioneer High School last fall.

A cross-town rivalry game on Oct. 12 turned rowdy after an altercation between the head football coaches for Huron and Pioneer caused both teams to charge the field after the clock ran out.

Pioneer senior Bashir Garain, 18, was charged with four counts of assault in the melee. Two are counts of felonious assault with a dangerous weapon for allegedly attacking two Huron players with a crutch.

Two other Pioneer High School students, both juveniles, also were charged in the brawl. None of the coaches involved in the fight faced charges. Details of the juvenile cases are not being released to the public.

In January, Ann Arbor parents and concerned residents launched three separate petitions on asking Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie to drop the charges against the teenagers. To date, the petition for Garain has received 502 e-signatures.

On Wednesday, four community members, including Ruth Zweifler, former Executive Director of the Student Advocacy Center, took their protesting of the criminal charges to the next level, urging the Board of Education and AAPS Superintendent Patricia Green to get involved.

The speakers said Wednesday during the board's public comment period that the brawl was a school issue and was handled in a way the community found acceptable by school officials.

Sioban Harlow, a Pioneer football parent, said the escalation of this fight to the court system has caused considerable concern among Pioneer High School families. She said more than 70 parents have attended all of the court dates and hearings for all three of the boys.

"I'm hear to ask you to support the young men in relation to the incident that was started by adults' poor behavior," Harlow said. "… Both teams worked it out and have tried to heal this incident. They have made a concerted effort."

She pleaded with school board members to direct Green to meet with Mackie and to ask him to drop the charges. She said the charges are an example of the over-criminalization and over-charging of young African American males that exists in today's society.

"We need to join together to say, 'Not in our community. Not in Ann Arbor,'" Harlow said.

Trustee Simone Lightfoot said she and Trustee Susan Baskett have been very involved in the cases against the football students and have spoken with a number of attorneys and parents and continue to be concerned.

"Personally, I'm happy to see the community continue to follow this case and this miscarriage of justice for these young men," Lightfoot said.

Later in the meeting, Lightfoot and Baskett led the charge to move that the Board of Education place an item on its next agenda to consider a resolution in support of the students who have been criminally charged. The duo will draft a resolution to present the board on March 13.

The motion to place this item on the next agenda was approved 5-2 with trustees Andy Thomas and Irene Patalan dissenting, expressing concerns about becoming involved in a criminal cases.

Thomas said in an interview Thursday that the board felt the message should come from trustees rather than the superintendent, as parents suggested.

Thomas, however, thought the board should seek the advice of legal counsel first, he said. Green said Wednesday she spoke with Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services David Comsa and his preliminary guidance was that it would be appropriate to pass a resolution, but he indicated he would look into it further.

Thomas said he didn't want to bring about any possible liability issues for the district. He added he does not feel it is the role of a school board to become involved in criminal cases and it could set an unfortunate precedent. He also said the board wouldn't like it very much if the county prosecuting attorney or city council members started telling the AAPS board how run its organization.

The board has not voted on a specific resolution yet. Wednesday's vote only places the topic of considering such an action on the board's next agenda. Baskett and Lightfoot expressed a sense of urgency. Garain's final pretrial hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. March 19.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Detached Observer

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

I'm glad I'm not the one who has to sort this out. I watched the video on YouTube and I clearly saw one guy take a swing with a crutch. Now, about those coaches. Is it true that they did nothing illegal? Perhaps. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I would have been fired from any job I ever had if I incited a riot. So, If they started it, then FIRE THEM.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

Is this really how we want to be treating our children? There was once a time when schoolyard fights and other incidents--even those resulting in injuries--were handled by the school and parents. Now we are so eager to hand these incidents over to the criminal justice system. And the evidence is clear that African American males are referred to the criminal justice system far more often than white males--even for similar behavior. The criminal justice system is not in the business of reform or rehabilitation. Plus, when someone has a criminal record, it makes it far more difficult for them to get scholarships, employment, housing, etc. That not only has a negative effect on the person but for the community and society as well. If you want these kids to be prosecuted you are essentially giving up on them. If we were truly the Christian nation that so many of us claim us to be, we would find alternative methods of dealing with these incidents. There are other ways, such as restorative practices, that are much more effective at holding people accountable and addressing the harms done--not just to the victims, but to the families and the community as well. Restorative practices have more favorable outcomes and are more satisfying to all involved than the criminal justice system. I find it interesting that people claim to be so concerned with government intrusion and overreach and lack of accountability, but have no problem handing the fates of our children over to the state. It is time we reconsider our blind faith in the criminal justice system. We lock up more people than any other nation and spend $68 billion a year on a system that does not make us any safer.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

It's funny how the BoE, particularly LIghtfoot and Baskett, are so concerned about this racial travesty but had no concern for the state law being broken because of the all-black field trip and the "passionate conversation" the principal had with the students who didn't "qualify" for the trip. In fact they gave the principal kudos for thinking outside of the box! Their prejudice is showing and it's shameful! Maybe the city/state should have stuck their nose into the Board's business more instead of it being swept under the carpet. And don't bother doing a FOIA about it, apparently they only took "oral" statements from the other adults in the room, so no paper trail.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

The headline should read: Ann Arbor school board demonstrates a complete absence of a moral compass and lack of understanding between wrong and right, considers resolution in support of dangerous criminal activity.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

My first question is a simple one - What will this statement of support cost in the long run? Does it mean we spend staff time and legal time on the case beyond what has already been spent? My second question is also a simple one - if this had happened in a debate tournament instead of a football game - would you still take the same side of the issue? Really? If it had resulted in serious permanent injury to someone would you still be in favor of a statement of support from the board? Please think about it. Sports should not get special treatment.

Danielle Arndt

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

Don, in response to your first question, a resolution in support of the students would not cost the district anything. Interested board members will write and present the resolution to the full board for consideration at its next meeting. This is entirely a board-driven initiative, so administrative time and legal advice shouldn't come into play.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

Please remember this, as well as the terrible financial mismanagement of the district, when voting for school board members in the future. We have Patricia Green now. The damage that decision has caused, for the entire community, is enormous.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Everything needs to face litigation nowadays yeesh, there were plenty of good kids that got in fights when I was in high school (which was less than 10 years ago, so I am not just an old fogie from the time when people walked uphill 15 miles to and from school) and I couldn't imagine everyone actually facing felonies over it. What do you think is going to happen when you have kids going through puberty with high testosterone, playing a violent sport followed by the adults/mentor/coach of these kids starting a fight after a heated game. Alas I guess we can give them all felonies so that they can enter the system at a young age and continue to require assistance for the rest of their lives as they are unemployable.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:56 a.m.

"I guess we can give them all felonies" Nobody is being "given" a felony. However one person did EARN a felony charge.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

upperdeck By your own admission you have not seen the video. Here it is: Look at the video at the 45 second mark. Then come back AFTER you have enlightened yourself and comment.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:37 p.m.

I haven't seen the video so I am unsure of how violent this actually got but I would imagine a misdemeanor would send the same message without the lifelong issues that a felony will give you.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

If you dismiss charges because you're worried about the future of the alleged felon, you aren't doing him any favors. He won't learn that there are consequences for poor decisions. You are also dismissing the rights of the overwhelming majority who choose a path of non-violence. We deserve a society where those who commit crimes are punished.

Claude Kershner

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

The two board of trustees who suggest this is a miscarriage of justice should be digging into how they managed to miss count students and teachers to the tune of $2,000,000.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

$2.5 million


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Fir those that think this should be handled by the board. Let the board members patrol the next game and put the officers on the roads!


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:06 p.m.

Harlow said "the charges are an example of the over-criminalization and over-charging of young African American males that exists in today's society" Harlow's statement is what I find discouraging, why bring race into this? A young man beat a peer with a crutch with the intent to injure him and succeeded to do so. What if it was your son who was injured in this attack, would you be OK with it? Young people must realize that in this day and age that almost everybody carries a cell phone capable of recording video. If someone captures a video of you committing a crime it becomes evidence and if it gets turned over to a prosecutor within a court system they have no choice but to act upon the evidence, it's their court sworn duty to prosecute under the letter of the law. With that said I believe the charge are excessive, I wouldn't consider a crutch to be a "deadly weapon" I don't think the young man with the crutch intended to inflict deadly injuries, but he did cause injuries. Don't drop all charges, but lower them to simple assault it a misdemeanor.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

My understanding is that no victim of the crutch swing has been identified.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

The School Board very properly handed their game tapes and the question of criminal prosecution over to the police for investigation. The police, on reviewing the tapes, found the coaches' behavior to be threatening but not felonious. But if the police and prosecutor Brian Mackie, after viewing and re-viewing the tapes of the Huron/Pioneer incident, believe that the behavior of some students rose to the level of "felonious assault" or "assault with a deadly weapon" then they are professionally obligated to file charges. Those charges will lead to a trial, at which the accused can invite or compel the sworn testimony of the others involved. The truth of the matter will then be judged by a jury of their peers. Those tapes have not been made public and have not been shared in their entirety with the School Board, some of whom are now calling for AAPS to re-involve themselves in the matter after their own internal investigation meted out some student suspension and a public scolding for the "adult" coaches whose bad behavior triggered this incident. Because of the political leanings of most residents, Ann Arbor's police force bends over backward to avoid even an appearance of racial discrimination. The school district re-inserting themselves into the controversy is inappropriate.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Remember, the only people the board is hearing from on this issue are likely the friends and family of the alleged suspects. So the board members likely think that the whole community supports the idea of letting kids act this way because of the color of their skin. I strongly encourage everybody to contact the board of education and let them know that this is unacceptable. Their contact info is here:


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

This is not true. There are many people in the community involved who do not know the students or families. Many people are concerned with the school-to-prison pipeline and institutional racism in our criminal justice system (the evidence is overwhelming). People have a tendency not to question authority in this country, but it's time we start asking if we really want to hand our young students over to the criminal justice system for incidents that used to be handled by the schools, parents and community. The criminal justice system does not reform or rehabilitate. They give people criminal records for life that make it much more difficult for people to become successful members of society. There are alternative ways, such as restorative practices, that are much more effective at holding people accountable and repairing the harm down.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

" can we take the heat off the Super's salary and our budget problems?" "Hey, I got it! Lets bring up the brawl again and say we want to get involved legally!" "Great idea! Works like a charm every time!"


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

I can't believe how much time and energy is spent on negative press. is becoming the Enquirer. Never let the facts get in the way of good story, no matter who you hurt in the process. If it gets clicks, it works! When this "brawl" took place and all the fall out after it, people had so many reactions and opinions. And when Pioneers basketball coach made degrading remarks about the Bedford community that got a bunch of reactions too. It's true, these are both horrible incidents, but it seems embellishes and provokes the community and it works because people just can't wait for bad news so they can post comments on and pile on. But when Bedford and Huron play a great game for a championship last night and both teams play with respect and both fan bases show sportsmanship.... No story. I guess doing the right thing is too boring for us. Let's find ways to make racist comments in code, lets belittle the coaches, and lets blame the schools for everything. That's a lot more fun!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

HoopsFan, maybe there is more positive than negative news. But when there is positive news, that gets the press as well. Last summer there was a good article about the kid (don't remember his name) that had difficult circumstances and was going to Western Michigan U. after graduating from Roberto Clemente. My experience in this district is that many things get swept under the rug. There are very few consequences for anything. Kids get high in school? Maybe send them home for a few hours? Steal and get caught? No suspension and don't tell anyone about it (it happened), teacher gets pushed down and injured in a fight by students, they don't even get suspended. These things have occurred over a decade or more in various schools, but AAPS has a tendency of having very little consequences in too many schools. The vast majority of AAPS students do a great job, but the administration lets the small percent act without consequences in too many instances. If the tape shows they committed a crime, they have no right to lobby the DA for releasing the kids from consequences.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

My point is that bad news sells! And by the responses to this story and the story about the coach blasting Bedford's community and the ten stories on "the brawl", I'm proven right! I dare you to write a story on something positive happening to one of our area sports teams and see how few responses you get. Write about a injured player making a comeback, or a charity fundraising effort by a team, or any human interest story and I'll bet you get 3-5 responses.

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

@hoopsfan, You need to ask yourself why the school board and some community members continue to be interested in this story. Or why the individuals charged with crimes would care. They could all choose to let it die and the rest of us could go on with our uneventful lives and soon forget it happened. I would never know, assume, or care the race of the suspects if not for the public outcry. The only people guilty of racism and code speech are those alleging that the investigating officers and prosecutor singled out these kids from ones who committed the same acts. We know that *can* happen, but has it here?

Cindy Heflin

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

Hoopsfan: You seemed to be saying that we did not cover the basketball game: "But when Bedford and Huron play a great game for a championship last night and both teams play with respect and both fan bases show sportsmanship.... No story." I was pointing out that we did write a story.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

I read the story and commented on it. My point is that and many members of the your readership seem to be infatuated with negative stories. But when it comes to high school sports and high schools students, I thought it might be different. It just seems a story about something positive is rarely written and rarely gets the reactions from readers. I get it, its the way of the world. If the truth hurts.........

Cindy Heflin

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Hoopsfan, here's our story on the Huron-Bedford game: As you can see, we had a reporter and photographer at the game. The story was posted shortly after 11 p.m. last night.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Having 2 kids at Skyline, I question if the county prosecutor has such little to do, he would chose to prosecute these kids. We have sexual assault, robberies, and underage drug use happening in Ann Arbor regularly. I'm not convinced this case is the best use of our tax dollars. If this fight wouldn't have received media attention, would these kids be charged? We have 3 very young kids that made a poor decision. Should there be consequences? Absolutely. Should those consequences follow them for the rest of their life? No. If this prosecutor was thinking like an educator or even someone who believes in rehabilitation, then he would use this as a teachable moment. Let the kids do community services, but don't give them charges that will hold them back from going to college, getting a job, or being a contributing member of society. You wonder why our minority population doesn't trust the justice system……. This situation makes me question if the prosecutor would be involved if it was Saline or Dexter. What about their coaches who lead by example?

Stuart Brown

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 6:37 a.m.

Yes, Ricardo, you are old enough to murder on behalf of the US government in foreign lands (but at least three young men with many years ahead of them while be made an example of.) What a great country we have here! And what a teachable moment it is; only black people get held "accountable" while self-righteous, scolding non-black people without a clue deny, deny, deny the obvious.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

18 is not "very young".


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

Overcharging, my behind. It is this enabling that feeds this problem. Just because someone is a minority doesn't mean they get away with acting outside the boundries of the law.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

But everyone participating in this brawl was acting outside the boundaries of the law. Why were the coaches not charged for inciting a riot? Why wasn't everyone charged with assault and battery? If you knew anything about how the legal system works, you would know that overcharging is a common tactic used to get people to accept a plea deal. It works, and it works most effectively on low income people who can't afford good legal advice.

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Pioneer H.S. and AAPS did not even suspend students caught on tape assaulting fellow students on school property at a school sanctioned event. Perhaps the prosecutor would not have filed charges if the school had followed their written policy. It's good to be king.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

It is sad that they are even considering this. The board needs to worry about their budget, and doing what they are hired to do. Their "discipline" in this matter was a secret. How can we know if it was adequate. And it was surely could never be adequate in a case of felonious assault.

kathy coles

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

The school board needs to stay out of this. A young man was physically injured by the assault of at least one of these so called innocent players. I am tired of hearing they are only being prosecuted because of the color of their skin. I am sure that when prosecutors were watching the videos they weren't just looking at the color of their skin but rather they were looking at whose hands were on that crutch that was being swung. I am wondering if these students were expelled from school? The board does have a say in that and from my understanding of AAPS policies fighting can lead to expulsion. If a student were to bring a knife or gun to school, would they not have charges brought against them, it would/could be assault with a deadly weapon and apparently the school board doesn't feel that these 3 men should be charged for swinging a crutch which is also assault with a deadly weapon. Our children need to be held accountable for their actions.

kathy coles

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 7:01 p.m.

What do you suggest as a way to "punish" these young men for their actions? I am sorry that this whole incident ever took place, however, I still stand behind the fact that regardless of race, religion, etc. if our children or adults break the law they need to be held accountable. I don't know the background of these young men or their family life but parents also have to take responsibility for their children's behavior, my son played in that game, however, my son, like many others from both teams, chose to do the right thing by not getting involved. As far as coaches, they apparently did nothing legally wrong or they would have had charges against them also. If charges were brought against 3 white boys would we have this public outcry? It seems like the only reason some people are so upset is because of the color of their skin. We should be outraged because these 3 young men chose to harm or attempt to harm others - they chose to do that!


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

No one is saying these kids are innocent. There are other ways to hold people accountable for the harm they have caused. And we do have to ask why no one else is being charged. The coaches are guilty of inciting a riot and assault and battery. Many others involved in the brawl are guilty of assault and battery. They are selectively choosing only 3 African American students to charge. There are much more positive and effective ways to intervene in these student's lives than to give them criminal records which will haunt them for life.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

At 18, this young man is an adult. Actions have consequences, even in the heat of the moment. There were dozens of players who wisely did not get involved. By being apologists for those charged you are equating their behavior with those who have the good sense to stay on the sidelines.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 6:23 a.m.

But not for Brian Mackie or coaches. Mackie was observed a few years ago by a police officer pounding on a public payphone to knock coins out of the mechanism and in fact retrieving coins that were not his. Mr. Mackie does not believe he committed a crime nor is he concerned about how any of this looks. Mr. Mackie may send others to prison for the same offense, but he is confident he is not a criminal.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

But why were none of the other people engaging in assault and battery charged? None of this would have happened if the coaches did not instigate it. Why aren't they being charged? Why don't their actions have consequences in the criminal justice system? The fact that the coaches are not being charged with inciting a riot and assault & battery proves that not all illegal behavior is referred to the criminal justice system.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

I'd like to ask those who support this resolution if they have actually watched the video? If you have watched the video, how can you not see that this is a legal matter?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Exactly, why weren't all the people engaging in assault & battery on the field charged? I could clearly see far more than 3 people involved.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Seeing the video will definitely change your mind. It did mine. It was a full, two-handed swing with a crutch. Why? Because he didn't think he'd get caught, which makes him a coward as well.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

AA School District spent a lot of time investigating this incident, and disciplined coaches and students. So with all the students that were involved in this brawl, Brian Mackie chooses just three students to prosecute. Charges were dropped against the one coach originally charged. All the charges in these three cases should be dropped. Over charging is a common ploy used in our criminal justice system to obtain an easy plea deal. It's called, "The School To Prison Pipeline", and this is how it starts. Oh, did I forget to mention that all three students are African American. Non had a prior record. To the coaches, how about coming to court and support your players!

Stuart Brown

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 6:18 a.m.

To Ricardo Queso, you are wrong. It is the government that is playing the race card and not taking responsibility. It is simply not acceptable that the only people charged in this incident are black, this fact precludes any achievement of justice by these prosecutions. Prosecuting these young men will achieve nothing constructive. I would encourage these young men to plead not guilty and demand a jury trial. In order to be a crime there has to be criminal intent; if they felt threatened and were defending themselves or others, there is no crime.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

If we never charge people who lack a prior record, our prisons will be empty in no time. Kinda like firing all the employees in a company to decrease overhead....

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Easier to play the race card than to accept responsibility.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

While there are multi-million dollar deficits suddenly "popping up" in AAPS the board should work on THAT and let the courts handle the criminal matter. And yes, when someone swings a large object trying to hit someone else that is a criminal matter. AAPS realizes that they totally and thoroughly lost control of this entire situation by giving a pass to the coaching staff and they're trying to backpedal their way out of it.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

It is serendipitous, perhaps, that this incident is occurring in the midst of the Ann Arbor/Ypsi Reads' focus on Michelle Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow." If you feel strongly about this situation, I strongly encourage reading this book before jumping into the fray. It provides context for why people are upset about the seemingly egregious over-charging of these three young black men for bad decisions and bad behavior in the heat of the moment - a moment triggered by the behavior of the adult coaches who we, as parents, entrusted our children to learn good sportsmanship. Let this incident be a trigger for public discourse we need in this community. What is the purpose of charging these young men with multiple felony assault charges? Recognize that if any are charged with a single felony, they are marked as "convicts" for life: that means that none of these young men will be able to receive any student loans, scholarships, or athletic opportunities for the rest of their lives. Do we want these young men to be productive citizens, contributing positively to our community? What is a response that has the most promise for achieving this? I can imagine the intense fear the parents of the victims must have felt as they saw their child being pummeled by metal football spikes, so I'm not asking these questions to suggest that there not be consequences for the dangerous actions of these young men. However, we need to ask ourselves what the role is of our coaches in triggering this situation? What is the role of our schools for creating the climate for this to occur? Let this be the nadir and a clarion call to us, as citizens of the Ann Arbor and surrounding community for each of us to do some soul-searching and begin to honestly and full-heartedly address underlying issues related to race in our community.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

What kind of message are you sending to African-American students with this drivel? If race is meant as a defense for violent behavior, I can't imagine how depressing that is for the large number of young African-American males who can and do refrain from violence. We must stop this acceptance. It's racist and it eats away at the very core of a very vulnerable community.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

One correction, schrodster. Being charged with a felony will not bar a person from student aid, scholarships, or athletic opportunities. Being convicted will. A felony conviction does disqualify anyone from receiving most Federal grants, but not from government-supported or private education loans, or from receiving grants or scholarships administered by individual schools. A conviction could be a barrier to these young mens' future success, though I've certainly heard of more than one convict making a successful life for themselves after serving time and even a few star athletes for whom conviction was overlooked by their professional teams.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

"Bad decisions and bad behavior in the heat of the moment" This s called, "enabling." "What is the purpose of charging these young men with multiple felony assault charges?" To hold them accountable for multiple felony assaults they committed. "Do we want these young men to be productive citizens, contributing positively to our community?" Yes. "What is a response that has the most promise for achieving this?" To teach them the very important life lesson that they are accountable for their own actions. "Begin to honestly and full-heartedly address underlying issues related to race in our community." I agree, and let's start with ending the race-baiting.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

The Board of Education should focus on "education" and let the legal system focus on legal matters. Fix the budget deficit!


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Maybe we should officially change the Board's name to the "Ann Arbor Board of Enablers".


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Assult is assult..typical Ann Arbor response ...a slap on the wrist till its a felony...Oh ! but they just made bad choices...balderdash....why not just add a new class to the local curriculum...criminal 101...


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

My mistake--they are guilty of assault and battery.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Everyone shoving and swinging punches in that brawl was guilty of assault. Why weren't they all charged?

tom swift jr.

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : noon

It is absurd for anyone to think that the Board of Education has any business getting involved in a criminal case such as this. Every single case of assault perpetrated by an adolescent should go to trial. We have laws against violence against individuals, teaching young people that they can assault someone and the adults in their lives will protect them against the consequences of that action creates individuals that we do not want in our community.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Every single case of assault should go to trial? Are you kidding? Every schoolyard fight should be referred to police? That's ridiculous. If that were the case, how many of our young men and even women would end up with criminal records? Is that really what we want? Criminal records put people at a disadvantage for life.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

And what about the student that was injured, what about his rights? Is this sending a message to students that violence is ok?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

That's the problem is that we live in an all or nothing society. There is another way to deal with these types of incidents called restorative practices that would both hold the offenders accountable and would do more to repair the harm done to everyone, including the victim(s) and the community. We are far to quick these days to hand every incident over to law enforcement. We should be doing everything possible to hold people accountable and repair the harm done without leaving our students with criminal records that will haunt them for life.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

What charges were brought against the adults? Life is all about choices, and these individuals made a bad choice and with that comes consequences, but for the adults as well.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

What charges against the adults would you suggest? Remember, it was determined they did nothing illegal.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Assault with a weapon is a serious offense.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

Everyone involved in the brawl was engaging in punishable offenses. They all could have been charged with assault & battery.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

Richard, that would be OK, as long as you were "just caught up in the moment."


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

concerned By your definition the prosecutors need to drop the charges against the alleged shooter on 23! He did not hit anyone. Not sure they can prove he shot at someone.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

So I can point a gun at you and threaten you as long as I don't shoot you? Just because the victims happened to be wearing helmets and pads does not make it okay to beat them with a piece of metal.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

So if I swing a pipe at your head and miss that is not a crime?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

This dangerous weapon, as you call it, caused not one injury. So what you have here is a victimless crime.

Chip Reed

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

This isn't a case of the board interfering with the prosecutor's business, but rather, the other way around.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

"Gosh Tyrone, if you push someone defensively, by definition that isn't the start of something that is already happening" Gosh, no. First of all, by definition, nothing can be the start of something that is already happening. If it's already happening, then something has already started it. Second of all, something defensive is very often the end of something. I understand you want to excuse this because it happened on a football field and you are not in favor of enforcing laws. But this had nothing to do with football. It was an assault with a weapon by somebody who knew what he was doing was wrong but made the conscious decision to go ahead and do it anyway.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

Wrong. Just because something happens on school grounds, or in relation to a school event, does not mean that the district gets to override the criminal justice process. If I or my child were a victim in an incident like this, I would be horribly offended that the district thought it had the right to interfere in my criminal case or choose whether or not prosecution occurred. I agree with Thomas and wonder what type of liability the district opens itself up to when they come out and say that they don't believe a student should be held accountable for beating another student with a crutch... especially if the decision was based largely on the race of the suspect. You are right in that not every sporing altercation should be handled in the criminal justice arean. A simple hockey fight or a shoving match in a basketball game is one thing. But when you pick up a metal crutch and start beating people with it until it was become bent and broken, you have gone well beyond the normal level of "high emotions" from a game. The fact that the district and these parents want to throw out the race card to excuse this behavior is offensive to everybody involved, especially the suspects.

Chip Reed

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Gosh Tyrone, if you push someone defensively, by definition that isn't the start of something that is already happening. I'm not condoning anything, but I wasn't aware that someone's face was sliced open...

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

So Chip, what you're saying is that if one coach pushes another - once - in what determined to be a defensive action, then that means it's OK for a student to pick up a weapon and slice open another student's face with it.

Chip Reed

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

This was a sports brawl started by adult coaches. If every assault that happened on the field were prosecuted to the full extant of the law, would justice be better served? I think not.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

You're saying law enforcement is the school board's business? When was that power given to them?