Justice Dies As Delaware Supreme Court Overturns Verdict In Death Of Amy Joyner-Francis

Delaware media is reporting the Delaware Supreme Court just overturned the conviction of Trinity Carr in the death of Amy Joyner-Francis.  The student died as a result of injuries sustained in a beating at Howard High School on April 24th, 2016.  The full decision is embedded below.

WDEL reports:

The Supreme Court on Thursday said no reasonable factfinder could have found that the girl acted with criminal negligence or, even if she did, that it would be unjust to blame her for Joyner-Francis’ death given how unforeseeable it was that the fight would lead to a young teen dying of cardiac arrest.

To read the full legal opinion, issued today, please read below.  Due to the fact many involved in the case were minors, the Delaware Family Court changed the names of minors.  The appeal is written on behalf of “Tracy Cannon”.  But there is no mistaking this.  It is Trinity Carr.  Amy Joyner-Francis’ name is “Alcee Johnson-Franklin”.  Being that this case was so heavily publicized, I feel it is a dishonor to the memory of Amy Joyner-Francis to change her name.  It belittles her and points her as something different than the victim of a horrific murder.  I’m sorry, but this was murder.  It may not have been intentional, but a student died.  And it would have never happened if Carr didn’t go into that bathroom with the intention of causing harm to Amy.

This is what happens when justice dies in the first state to sign the Constitution.  Those who pimp out 16 and 17 year olds for human sex trafficking get probation.  Special education diagnosticians who have sex with students get probation.  And now, murderers get away with murder.

Amy Joyner-Francis’ Murder Trial Reveals Huge Escalation In Fights At Howard High School

As the News Journal reported today, Howard High School experienced more than double the amount of fights between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

During cross-examination of Ursula McCoy, an 8-year faculty veteran at Howard who had worked in the discipline office, Deckers established that violent incidents more than doubled at Howard between the 2014-2015 school year and the 2015-2016 year.  There were 46 reports of violence last year, compared with 20 the year before.

Upon questioning from Deckers, McCoy said “there may be times when (fights) are not reported.”

Sorry Ms. McCoy, when it comes to fighting, all of them should be reported.  It is the law.  It is NOT let’s cherry-pick what is and isn’t a fight.  If the school determines it is a fight, it is a fight.  By failing to report that information to the state, YOU are breaking the law.  Notice the article said she “had worked in the discipline office”.  Why doesn’t she anymore?

I still don’t buy Trinity Carr’s excuse that she couldn’t have known the fight could lead to Amy Joyner-Francis’ death.  She and her friends beat her senseless.  At the very least, they should have known it would cause some type of trauma to her.  But no, we get her attorney defending someone who killed a girl.  I know, it is his job to defend her, but come on!  This was a planned fight.  Kids and teenagers say dumb things, no doubt about it.  I don’t know if that was the case with all this and it really doesn’t matter.  You don’t beat someone until they die because of it.

As for the school not reporting all their fights, I really hope they have learned their lesson and the state makes sure they did.  There is no reason not to report fighting no matter what the reasoning might be.  Some folks say get rid of the Delaware Department of Education, but I believe they are a necessary entity to make sure things like this are reported.  As well with special education issues and things of that sort.  There needs to be ramifications when a school admits in a major trial they didn’t report incidents of violence.  That will bring little solace to the family of Amy Joyner-Francis, but it should be a wake-up call to every single school in this state.  Perhaps if all the fighting were reported it would bring more interventions into a school if the reporting is done with fidelity.

 

Tragedy Strikes Howard High School In Wilmington As Female Student Dies From Head Injuries In Fight

A teenage girl at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware died this morning due to head injuries from an assault by several female students in a bathroom.  The News Journal is reporting an incredibly tragic story coming out of Howard High School in Wilmington.  Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams and the Wilmington Police Department have confirmed the student passed away.  The News Journal reported she was flown to A.I. DuPont Hospital. I’m hearing the victim and another girl were fighting in the bathroom when one or more other girls jumped her and physically assaulted the student in a bathroom.  The girls slammed her head on a sink.  I’m also hearing students have been dismissed for the day.  Please pray for this student, her family and friends, and the entire community at Howard High School in Wilmington.  It goes without saying, these things should never happen.

At 11:27am, the News Journal article has been updated with this comment from Wilmington Police:

Detectives from the homicide and violent crimes unit are interviewing multiple students who are considered persons of interest in the assault, according to a source close to the investigation. Police said they do not believe anyone outside the school was involved.

Howard High School of Technology is scheduled to have a Wilmington mayoral debate this evening, but no word as of yet if this will be postponed or moved to another location.  The debate is, ironically, about safety… Updated, 12:06pm: The debate is canceled.

A source in Wilmington has reported this has been an ongoing issue at Howard with very lax control.  Fights break out frequently and many go unreported.  The school has one School Resource Officer assigned from the Wilmington Police Department.  Our children need to feel safe in our schools.  Something needs to change NOW!

Channel 6 ABC News out of Philadelphia http://6abc.com/news/student-dies-after-being-assaulted-inside-del-school/1302232/

Updated, 12:07pm: The News Journal updated their article with this comment from New Castle County Vo-Tech Superintendent Vicki Gehrt:

Superintendent Victoria Gehrt said the death of the sophomore at Howard High does not reflect negatively on the safety in the school.

Are you out of your mind Ms. Gehrt?  A student died in one of your schools and you have the gall, just hours after her death, to say this?  I’m sure the parents or guardians of this student would disagree with you.  Wake up!

Updated, 5:00pm:

The News Journal article has been updated again, this time with a startling picture of how often fighting goes on at this school:

Last year seven violent felonies were reported at the school, as well as 14 incidents of fighting/disorderly conduct, according to data from the state Department of Education.  While only 10 violent felonies have been reported at Howard in the past five years, there have been 127 incidents of fighting/disorderly conduct, not to mention bullying, inappropriate or terroristic touching and sexual assault.

Please tell us again how safe this school is Dr. Gehrt.

Updated, 5:20pm:

A website called Heavy.com seems to have some of the details of the incident I reported this morning concerning how this student sustained the head injury from the fight.  The article has printed the name of the student, but out of respect for her family I will not report it on here.  We can try to find reason for this senseless tragedy but nothing will change what this girl’s family is going through and a life snuffed out way too young…

Updated, 5:38pm:

Heavy.com is reporting several students are reporting on social media that students filmed the fight on their cell phones but did not intervene.  That is disgusting if it is true.

There are no words…

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Video From Wilmington Rotary Club

On 2/19/15, United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Delaware for the 5th time.  He went to Howard High School which was also included in his first visit to Delaware.  He spoke to the Wilmington Rotary Club about the “gains” Howard H.S. has made since that first visit.

Two Delaware State Representatives, Sean Matthews and John Kowalko, wrote Duncan a letter the day before his visit asking him to visit one of the six priority schools. Duncan did not acknowledge the letter at all.

In his introductory speech, Governor Jack Markell spoke about the “vitriol” in education talk.  There would be no vitriol if there was true stakeholder input Mr. Governor.  Instead, Delaware had education “initiatives” forced on school districts with strict and fierce warnings of non-compliance.  In my world, we call that bullying.