OPD uses Taser during high school protest

A police officer assigned to the McClymonds high school campus shocked a BEST student with a Taser last week during a small student walkout over a fired after-school coordinator.

file photo by Jane Tyska, Bay Area News Group

LaShun Frieson, 16, said two School Resource Officers were trying, unsuccessfully, to wrestle him to the ground and cuff him, prompting one of them to tase him multiple times. The reason for his arrest? Stepping between the police and his friend, 100-pound Arwa Omar, when an officer went to handcuff her.

The reason for Omar’s near-arrest? As far as I can tell, from the police and students’ accounts, it was that she was standing in the street, potentially blocking traffic, and declaring she wouldn’t go back to school until the officers freed another student from the back of a patrol car (which they did, ultimately).

“It became a safety issue,” said BEST principal James Gray, who wasn’t there the morning of the incident.

The reason why that student was pulled into the back of the patrol car in the first place? I still don’t know.

Do you think resisting arrest, unarmed, is grounds for high-voltage shock? Do you think this would have happened in a neighborhood with fewer (and gentler) police/civilian encounters than in West Oakland? How do you think this situation should have been handled?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com Former Oakland Teacher

    This would ABSOLUTELY not have happened in a white school, or a hills school.

  • http://CA-Schools-Dialogue.org Amanda Sena

    Californians can participate in an online dialogue about education reform in California conducted by San Diego-based research firm, Viewpoint Learning, and sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation. The discussion will revolve around how Californians want their education system to change and to provide suggestions for practical solutions to make the changes. The results of the discussion will be shared with state officials and education advocates. You can register here: http://CA-Schools-Dialogue.org. At the site, you can scroll to the bottom where you’ll click to register for the dialogue. The discussion begins on February 25 and will continue for two weeks. Participants need to register by noon on February 25th to participate.

    To get more information about Viewpoint Learning and the work they’ve done, check them out at: http://www.viewpointlearning.com.

  • cranky teacher

    If the boy is big and he was struggling, cops will be cops and use force.

    But it sounds like they handled the whole situation badly. Being SROs, they’ve probably never handled anything as delicate as a protest.

    I’d follow this up, Katy. Was there really a safety issue? Why was the afterschool person fired?

    Kids need to know that if they protest in legitimate ways, they will be heard.

  • Nextset

    What a wonderful field day for the children. They probably learned things that should have been taught by their parents and by the schools. People looking for trouble usually find it. This little “demonstration” was not a good idea because these kids can’t control themselves or the others during such events.

    You don’t commit the crime of §148 PC – Resisting or Delaying an Officer – and expect to just keep doing it. The police are not your mother, they are not your teachers and they are not your social workers. When they tell you to get out of the way, etc, you’d better do it quick.

    The Tasering is, of course, fine and appropriate. Officers are not extected to play games with anyone (like teachers do?) and “discuss” things. They do not have to engage in physical struggle. Shock ’em, nightstick ’em or whatever it takes to overpower the lawbreaker and get back to business. In an instant the police are called upon to SHOOT PEOPLE which is why they don’t let themselves get into wrestling matches with stupid people as a matter of policy. If you use the Taser up front the struggle won’t degenerate into having to kill someone.

    If they want to be treated like “children” they’d better go do this to their parents and teachers, not the cops.

  • Nextset

    Another thing the kids need to have explained to them. There are a LOT of reasons why someone is fired. Schools, Gov’t Agencies and most employers cannot publicly discuss terminations – they just can’t. It’s not fair to the worker or the employer to publicly discuss the decision to part company. Sometimes people are fired even though the employer’d love to keep them, but they can’t. Some people who are terminated eventually are re-hired later when things settle or circumstances change. These kids don’t get a free school day everytime they have some imagined beef with an individual school decision. Life just doesn’t work that way. A previous blogger said none of this would have happened in (Piedmont). Darn right it wouldn’t have happened in Piedmont, those kids know better and these kids don’t. If you grow up being taught you are a victim and everything that happen around you is a personal affront to you, this is the sort of silliness you get your 15 year old self into.

    This is a really good lesson for the kids to learn. Too bad the school didn’t teach it.

  • witness

    I personally witnessed what happend on Feb 12, 2008. The young lady did not stand the streets and blocked traffic, there was no traffic to block in the first place. OPD did not require to use tazer or hadncuffs the students. They have every right to protest and OUSD need to give them the chance. Also, Arwa Omar is very vocal and handcuffing a 100 pounds teenage girl is not needed at all.

    Katy, If you can get more information and follow up with the students, please do so.

  • Arwa

    I am very upset with what “nextset” says. We did not do anything bad. All we wanted was someone to hear and help change our school. The tasering was not fine or appropriate, LaShun could’ve gotten hurt over nothing. I really think you should know all the facts before saying that its okay that OPD did that and a good lesson for kids to learn. OPD are suppose to protect us not handcuff or taser students. That was inappropriate and I believe that adults (OPD) should be held accountable for their actions.

  • Sue

    It’s a different world today.

    In the mid-70’s in Sonora (near Yosemite), my high school attempted to fire a very popular counselor. Students walked out of classes in protest and gathered on the football field. Within hours the board had called an emergency meeting, and decided to keep the counselor. We students had won. Now, that was a lesson worth learning – that peaceful protest is effective.

    Of course, that was before Prop-13, and our school district had enough money to pay for counselors (and football!). It was before our high school had any security staff on campus (they weren’t even police officers when we finally got them). And it was before civil rights were abrogated in the name of security.

    Oops! I sound like my parents and grandparents talking about the good old days. It just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it.

  • Mr. T

    Dear Nextset,

    It is people like you who make this world a difficult place to live. How dare you justify the actions of the police. I find your comments idiotic and ridiculous. Just because your parents seemed to have kicked your butt around doesn’t mean that the same should happen to these students seeking justice. Next time you should get all the facts before you say something stupid.

  • unbias

    Dear Nextset,
    Your description of West Oakland students and parents is way off any characteristics I have encountered. They want the same things for their children as the parents in Piedmont. Your bias statement has obviously blinded you to the facts of what really happen. If students have learned to empower themselves to make a Difference in their community and school, some where a teacher or parent has taught them well. Go Arwa!

  • Nextset

    MrT, Unbias & Arwa: You make my case for me. We have a child who thinks the Cops are here to “serve” her. We have another child who thinks personal attacks on me is how you handle yourself in public discourse, And we have a final comment from someone who thinks the children need to “empower” themselves. It’s this kind of thinking that gets people Tasered or worse in this Brave New World.

    None of you addressed the point that the school will fire a staffer on occasion and you are in no position to get in the middle of personnel matters. You aren’t in privy to whatever the issue was. If the firing is actionable the staffer will go through civil service appeals or sue in the courts. That’s the remedy. When the kiddies decide to stage a walkout and start parading around that is not a safe thing to be doing. I was 15 once and we weren’t safe in large groups either – without Adult Supervision.

    So it didn’t end well and somebody tried to go man to man with the cops – doubtless to impress a girl. Well he should get at least a date out of all this… but the results are really predictable. As far as empowerment – when they have a 4 year degree or are paying their own rent they can be empowered. until then the children are children and they can keep their behinds in the classrooms.

    As far as Piedmont, you would do well to study them. The students there will be your bosses very shortly. And it doesn’t have to be that way but what are the odds? Without discipline, judgment and a sense of timing the Oakland Students will be stuck in the ghetto or worse in the tough times that are coming.

    There is a time and place to act out and this is not your time or your place. That staffer’s job was not the hill for these students to die on. When I was in grade school we learned to pick our battles, plan them, and run like hell when the battle was lost. I’m afraid that these children at 15 haven’t been taught that and are going to be roadkill in this Brave New World.

  • former student


    First of all, I find it particularly repulsive that you refer to these people as “children” as opposed to perhaps teens or more accurately, young adults. It sounds to me that you are coming from the standpoint of the authority. While I respect that and see where you coming, I have to disagree with your opinions.

    From my understanding, this incident sounds like a peaceful demonstration. As long as there was no violence, the actions taken by the OPD was not necessitated.

    I also agree that this kind of fallout would never have happened in an affluent neighborhood such as Piedmont. Why? Because a crackdown there would have only amassed to a large public outcry against the OPD. It is definitely not because those “kids know better and these kids don’t.” That statement strikes me as nothing more than a disgustingly ignorant and asinine remark that shows little willingness to understand or even respect OUSD students.

    Yes, perhaps these student demonstrators had little chance of reversing a decision that was already made. And yes, with respects to the decision-makers, the students were not in any position to effect a change. But they clearly believe strongly in this matter. Knowing OUSD, a lot of decisions are made behind students’ backs without proper explanations. Of course they come across as unfair. Who can blame students when they are only acting out of the need to be heard when, let’s be honest here, the vast majority of them feel like their voices are simply not heard or worse, ignored.

    By suggesting that OUSD students should not have engaged in this protest is to tell them that their thoughts, opinions, and ideas don’t matter. The tasering incident only reinforces the unfortunate status quo. In a time when OUSD students feel increasingly cheated and disenfranchised, I think it is appalling to assume that they are wrong when they choose to speak out peacefully.

    Until those in charge offer the explanations, engage in the proper dialogue, and take students seriously as young adults and NOT children, I can’t help but expect the overarching problem to worsen.

    I am writing as a former OUSD student.

  • Doowhopper

    I had to laugh when I read Nextset telling us that we should try to emulate Piedmont students!
    I grew up in a district quite similar to Piedmont. I know from personal experience how cruel, amoral and vicious many kids from these wealthy areas can be. They get in trouble with the police as well. Yet their mommies and daddies can afford to hire them excellent lawyers or get them referred to “treatment centers” for their “issues”.
    Oops, maybe thats wrong of me to stereotype wealthy white kids. Yet isn’t it also wrong to stereotype kids from “the ghetto”?

  • Joni

    To Nexset: I don’t think it was LaShun’s intentions to try and get a date with the young lady he stepped in to assist. And evidently there is a lot that the students have not been taught about going through proper channels to get things done. Educators here is your opportunity. Civil Leaders here is your opportunity. Nextset think again.

    What happened is a learning experience for the students, teachers, and police. LaShun being a 16 year old, Black male, who is one of his schools leaders, and not having a run in with police before had no idea that his trying to assist a fellow student, by standing in front of her would have got him tased. Seems like he had compassion for a female that was threatened. It was an instant reflex like trying to rescue someone from a burning building without thinking.

    So don’t fault an upstanding young man for what he thought he was doing right to help someone who needed help. One thing I am sure he has learned is that the police will react first (they are scared for their safety as well) and ask questions later.

    LaShun don’t be discouraged. Learn as much as you can about the proper procedures to handle situations that needs improvement. We need more caring young Black men like you. Contiune to do your best in school. Continue to listen to your family and teachers and believe me you will go far. Most of all this is an important lesson for you as well. Even though you are a good young man always remember that the police are there to help, but they will in “most” cases react just as you did before they think.

  • P. Hearst

    Nextset is a fairly typical police state Blog Troll. The lesson of the tazing is that in West Oakland the cops do what they want and might makes right. Most of the folks that grew up in West Oakland know that, and a few outsiders who can read between the lines. These West Oakland youth now have no reason to believe that “to protect and serve” applies to them. It is encouraging that the parents of these teens have given them the hope that they might peacefully protest. Real knowledge is neither easily obtained nor painless.

    Trevor Mackson and Carletta Garrett (the cops) didn’t gain any respect for what they did from those who were there, and certainly did not win any ” hearts and minds” or the real objective; new snitches.

  • Nextset

    I’m enjoying the reading here, people. Let’s just say we see the problem from different perspectives.

    I say the whole thing was forseeable and the cops acted appropriately. Moreover even if you don’t like the way they acted you should have expected it and and avoided the situation.

    And that’s the problem. While the “recent” students believe they are in the moral high ground – which they are not – they are still stirring their drinks on the lawn chairs spead out across the railroad tracks. The moral high ground is of little use when you take it on the railroad tracks. Google Rosemary Currie, for example. I don’t think she had any moral high ground either and my vote is with the tank.

    This whole story is a classic example of badly raised kids playing civil rights martyrs instead of performing academically. Which goes back to the Piedmont comments. Doohopper doesn’t get it. The comment about how “cruel, amoral and vicious” the wealthy whites (have you seen the stats? try Jews and Asians) are is just how it seems to you. They have been raised to take care of #1. The kids in this story seem to think that their purpose in life is to disobey the school authorities because they perceive some injustice. Well good luck to that. Some Blacks I know think it’s cruel, amoral and vicious not to “loan” them money. Do I care what beggars want or think?

    The road to the poorhouse, to hell, to state prison and the looney bin – is paved with good intentions by people, especially co-dependent women – who never learned to take care of themselves they are so busy with toxic alturism.

    We disagree and that’s fine. I’m old and you are not. I’m only preaching because I’ve had my taste. When your parents are marching in a demonstration then maybe you might go also. Otherwise, your job is to obey school authority and do as well as you possibly can in academic or vocational classes, not to cut school, and not to work on some cause cutting school.

    When children, and that’s exactly what these kids and these commentators are, go off on mob escapades such as this without adult supervision a lot worse than getting Tasered can happen. Don’t expect anything other than contempt from the public when it does.

  • Nextset

    Former Student: Have you been taught that in public discourse your feeling of repulsion have some special validity? You know, life is not about you, or your feelings. If you are in a public debate don’t think for a minute that anyone cares because I don’t and neither does anybody else here.

    People have duties to themselves , to society and to other people in general. You don’t see the breech of these duties in children cutting class and disobeying the Police because you acknowledge no civic duties. That is common with people who get Tasered.

    If you object to the Tasering which is where this comment started, cite any controlling standards for Police use of force. These are taught at Police academies and in published court case law. These are on the side of the Police Officer in this case.

    I don’t like school kids getting Tasered or shot and when it happens those kids have not been brought up properly at home or at school. Short of showing more Chris Rock and David Chapelle videos and the YouTube video of Sherlwanda getting peppersprayed – and the kids at the High School in Southern CA – what do we have to do to make it clear that authority is to be obeyed unless adults not schoolkids make calculated decisions otherwise?

  • John

    To Former Oakland Teacher: Be patient, it will ABSOLUTELY happen in the hills schools as they continue their downward trend. In fact Skyline has long met the behavioral criteria for such happenings,
    other hill schools soon to follow.

  • Mary Prophet

    The police officer reacted in a very dangerous and inappropriate way. A policemen assigned to a high school should have the skills and training necessary to know how to deal with situations without resorting to violence. This officer should be reassigned immediately and replaced by someone with better training and who actually likes high school youth, rather than fearing them. Tasers should never be allowed on a high school campus and never used on our young people. Any policeman assigned to a school should not have such a weapon in his/her possession.

    The judgement of the officer involved was also very poor with regards to his assessment of the situation. A peaceful protest and march by a small number of students sounds like a very appropriate response to what had to be a very upsetting decision. We were just celebrating Dr. King’s birthday. One of the things students learn about are all the protests he led. What more fitting thing could these young people have done?

    Bravo to the McClymonds students who were trying to make change. Thank you to them.

  • John

    Hey Mary the Prophet!

    You say, “This officer should be reassigned immediately and replaced by someone with better training and who actually likes high school youth, rather than fearing them.”

    Do you remember reading about the arrests of murder suspects identified as high school age youth?

    Perhaps the cops should have conducted a peaceful protest against non-compliant behavior while singing ‘We Shall Overcome’ and letting these misunderstood high school youth do whatever the H they want.

    In fact, why not transfer money from police services into social programs to help Oakland’s misunderstood peace activist youth!

    I advocate a special fund for campfires and marshmellows so everyone could sit around a burning smoldering Oakland singing peace songs with the Fire Department joining in with their own special chorus of ‘We Shall Overcome Fire Someday sooner or later.’

    I have a vision!

  • former student

    Perhaps I have been taught that my sentiments matter. After all, I have always abided by school authority. Perhaps if I had instead disobeyed and went off on “mob escapades,” I would have realized early on that in public discourse no one cares.

    Nextset, pardon me for saying, but it sounds like you are accusing me of holding no regard for civic duties. As a person who has been striving to become a civic leader in my communities, your statement is offensive and again, ignorant. Your comments thus far has been overwhelmingly and wrongly presumptuous.

    I am not suggesting that the police acted out of line–I am saying that the students’ actions did not warrant the use of a taser. There is a difference between disobeying authority and questioning it.

  • Nextset

    Mary Prophet: No. The officer gets a medal. And any students who does anything similar gets Tasered also. That’s how it is and that’s how it’s going to be. You’d just better learn to stay out of the way of Officers on duty until you learn how to act in public.

    Former Student: You’re right. I do accuse you of holding no regard for civic duties. I would hope it’s not actually true but based on your commentary you haven’t a clue and have not been taught much about duty. Like your cohort you believe it’s all about you and what you want and believe and not about obeying adult authority until you are competent to play in such sandboxes.

    As far as your striving – spare us. When you have by training or experience learned more about life and death you may be taken seriously in a discussion of use of force. At this point in your lives you are in no way competent to have an opinion on police tactics, emergency room triage, military policy or the setting of traffic lights.

    It’s probably tough to hear but I say this with the greatest of sympathy and respect. If you want to make a study of use of force you might start doing Police Ride-alongs as much as possible and pursue Administration of Justice in School. It’s the combination of both experience and study that makes you an “adult”. The school students are just dangerous to themselves in their impulsive behavior and half-baked opinions which is why groups of 16 year olds shouldn’t be on the street without adult supervision.

    I’ll say this again. If anybody gets physical with a Peace Officer in this state they will be taken down with overwhelming physical force. it doesn’t matter who they are, how old they are, what sex they are. If the school doesn’t train and control the kiddies the cops will not bat an eye in making an arrest or using up to deadly force if the conduct triggers such an event. It would be nice if the high schools taught criminal law & procedure since such knowledge is greatly needed, especially by the lower classes who will get no further education and have the most police conduct.

    Don’t think it’s an accident that such is not taught, I’ve long held that US Public schools are dumbing down the proletariat on purpose.

  • cranky teacher

    Well, surprise, surprise — everybody took there prefab frame for seeing everything and placed it on the incident.

    Most of these comments are wildly presumptuous; if you weren’t there or haven’t interviewed all the participants, you really have no claim to bash any of the participants based on these wild generalities.

    The devil is in the details:

  • cranky teacher

    Wow, what a bunch of crap. Everybody is just rushing on here to apply their prefab frame for viewing humanity to a situation most of them have almost no clue about.

    If you weren’t there or didn’t interview witnesses, how can any of you make assumptions about:

  • cranky teacher

    Sorry, I keep hitting submit by accident.

    My point is: can the truth be somewhere in the middle?

    — Could the cop have been legitmately scared?
    — Was there a safety issue?
    — Were these students sincere in their in protest?
    — Was the cop properly trained?
    — Was the student given time to respond to orders?

    Unless you know all these details, it seems wrong to slam anybody, cops or kids based on preconceived notions.

    That said, though, Nextset is embarrassing himself with his examples about “black” “beggers,” and his long bullying tirades against teenagers.

    I also think there is an interesting conversation in here about the idea of teeangers beings “kids” or “young adults.” We know that they like to be kids when it gets them out of responsibility they don’t want but “young adults” when there are priviledges they want. This is natural. But it is awkward for the rest of us, especially educators. If a 16-year-old student is failing, for example, is it the responsibility of the teacher to inform the student and let them turn it around, or must the parents be called in? Should a tenth-grader be allowed to act out a bit in class “because they’re a kid” or should we have college-level expecations for behavior? I suspect many of you have glib, simple answers to these questions…

  • Omar S.

    It sounds like you were instinctively trying to protect the young lady.

    The officer who tased you was trained to use force to gain order and cooperation.

    You both had to act quickly. Maybe the lesson to learn here is that what we do “instinctively” is determined by our training, what we have rehearsed over and over in our thoughts and actions. I would guess that police officers, in your eyes and in the eyes of your friends, are basically untrustworthy and agressive. Perhaps you’ve got some stories to back this view up. On the other hand, police officers are trained to distinguish between threat (criminal) and non-threat (non-criminal) and to force submission of the criminal. You were not LaShun, to the officer, but a “threat”. I’m sure the officer has a name too.

    Is it easy to see that this is a formula for disaster? No trust + No trust= No good.

    I think you were both doing what seemed the right thing at the time and I must admit I applaud your stepping up for your friend.

    But I do believe we’re going to have to come up with a new formula where we are not living with the lense of each other as a “threat”. We must a some point refuse to go along with any ideas or activities that diminish our respect for other people, in the things we think, the words we use, and the things we do.

    This is a big issue that doesn’t just apply to you, me or Oakland, but I believe that Oakland, especially the young people can develop the right energy, the self-mastery and self-respect that the whole world desperately needs of us today.

    Know about http://www.mettacenter.org. It is a great resource for teachers and students wanting to begin learning how each person can use Nonviolence, which Gandhi called “the most powerful force humankind has been endowed with”, to elevate our consciousness, community, and the world.


  • Nextset

    Cranky: Interesting post. What you interpret as bullying I call direct confrontation. We don’t have forever to get our points across. Your schools are failure factories and I don’t like that at all. If the students were spoken to like I do – they might think before they do things that will turn out so badly. I have no interest in being warm and fuzzy when children are being Tasered or worse due to their not being properly trained on how to act in the streets in 2008.

    I don’t like seeing young people in ERs or in Jail. I see that. Thus my attitude with people who I can identify with, walking into trouble they were never trained to understand.

    Perhaps they can understand it better after chat with me. Thay don’t learn from chatting with “educators”.

    I don’t care if the kids were sincere, they often think they are whatever that means. The rest of your concerns hardly apply when students get themselves into a combat situation in public with Police or anyone else.

    I repeat what I said before, it’s not about them, their wishes, their beliefs, and what they feel. Students are filled with this nonsense to the point where it’s toxic. Sixteen year old children belong in class not going nose-to-nose with Police in the street. Any beef with the school should have been taken to their parents to complain about, not by direct action of the students. It seems I’m the only one saying this in this forum. That’s the missing link in this story. They do have parent’s don’t they?

    In Piedmont the adults do the fighting and the Children watch and learn for when their day arrives. That’s what didn’t happen here and I wonder why.

  • Sue

    “In Piedmont the adults do the fighting and the Children watch and learn for when their day arrives. That’s what didn’t happen here and I wonder why.”

    I would suggest that Piedmont parents have the economic means, and the experience of how to work with the school system, the justice system, and all the other systems in our society.

    There are many fewer Oakland parents with the same resources. If mom and dad can’t do the fighting for them, sometimes the kids will try to do it themselves.

  • Nextset

    Sue: I disagree, poor people are quite good at complaining and dealing with Schools (or any other Agency) when it suits them. Note that here we are discussing the adults, not the children. Poor/lower class children are just in the world & in the way.

    What happened here is that the students involved preferred to do the demonstration themselves rather than complain to their parent and get them to run the demonstration (if the Parent would even agree the cause is worth the effort).

    While that’s not always such a bad thing, doing it yourself, and it is a lot of fun to get worked up and be publicly chimping out – it’s not always a good idea and the kids need to learn when and how to do these things. The Tasering is a great lesson and will be remembered the next time somebody wants to take it to the streets without a flightplan.

    And as far as the Piedmont crowd goes, they are not Titans, many of them are only one divorce away from broke but they probably time the divorces as well as the childbearing so my money is on them. Part of the reason they are where they are is a sense of timing – as in future oriented. That doesn’t make them warm human beings, but their checks usually don’t bounce.

    I want the Oakland School District to do a better job of teaching the (largely black) children in their schools how to function in this Brave New World. I’m tired of hearing how products of OUSD accidently wind up in State Prison.

    This case really gets to me because I see the Public School failure factories as feeding our prison-industrial complex in this state and it didn’t used to be that way. Here we have students who are supposed to be in class out getting themselves Tasered and saying “what happened”??

  • Former Student

    Omar, thank you for bringing up your point. Many problems can be traced to fundamental lacks of understanding. I also agree with Cranky that it’s unwise to place the blame on one party—much the way Nextset is faulting Oakland teens across the board.

    Nextset, what’s compelling me to respond to your preaching statements is not merely your claim that LaShun “had it coming,” but your ignorance and total disregard for understanding where different people come from.

    “They do have parents, don’t they?” On one hand: no. Many students in the OUSD have parents who aren’t educated enough to partake in such matters, who work long hours away form home, or who simply don’t care. To put it plainly, not everyone is fortunate to have parents clear the fields ahead of them. For many, it isn’t about waiting for the fight; the fight is already there. On another hand: there’s the bitter reality that there are some people who don’t have parents.

    When I was in the OUSD, I’ve at once had the privilege and sorrow to meet many peers who had been raised in abusive families, who had jumped from foster home to foster home, or who had been homeless at one point. Yet, some of these people also became student leaders. That said, I have to firmly disagree with your notion that we are not “competent to play in such sandboxes.” Why are we not? Why do you assume that some of us have NOT in fact lived in places where life and death is not only very real, but something faced everyday? And why do you assume that just because we were educated in a public school, that we have not studied such matters, or rather, that they are unsubstantial?

    Please, don’t make sweeping assumptions about what I care and don’t care about. I don’t make make leaping conclusions about you and your background, and I expect the same treatment. In fact, I respect your views. To an extent, I even agree with some of them. But I have to say your attitude towards teens is rather unfortunate.

    Lastly, I resent the fact that you refer to LaShun and the other student leaders as my “cohort.” It is disrespectful to both me and him as we are different people with different sets of values, experiences, and goals, as much as I empathize with his situation. I am rightfully an adult at my age, and have had my share of experiences and studies. Your attacks on my views and devaluing of my person is ill-founded and shameful. I have to say it ultimately kills the credibility of your point.

  • Nextset

    Omar: If they listen to you they might just get themselves shot next time instead of Tasered.

    Children – and by that I mean 16 year old hormonal boys – are not qualified to go nose to nose with the Police – EVER. That’s what these kids need to be told. My critics don’t like this and continue to beat around the bush telling children that it’s all about them and their feelings, their pride, their spirit, and how nice they are. BALONEY.

    While they are in this age range their job is to educate themselves as much as possible and obey authority. Larger conflicts are the business of adults which doesn’t include them.

    Simple isn’t it?

  • Nextset

    Former Student: “Cohort” only refers to an age grouping in the context used.

    Also I never said LaShun had it coming did I? My point is that it was predictable something like this would happen. The cops are within Use Of Force Guidelines. I’m ready to blame somebody for this and it’s neither the cop or the kid. I’m glad he wasn’t killed or crippled. I have a friend who had to have multiple surgeries to repair injuries from a DUI arrest (struggle?) in his teens. It’s dangerous to get into these situations and “LaShun” was supposed to be safely in class.

    Make no mistake you and I disagree about things and I’m sure I have you on age and experience. I’m just sorry that this situation occurs – the escapade in the streets – because I believe it does reflect inferior education by OUSD. I don’t care how “poor” kids are, I think that we can produce better trained kids at 16.

    Our Oakland students are no more “poor” than WWII kids who grew up with a working mother and father gone in the war for years. If we study the living conditions in Oakland in 1942 and now I think the kids have as much in calories and facilities. What’s missing is the quality of the schools and discipline.

  • Nextset

    I used the wrong name earlier in referring to the protestor who got in front of a bulldozer and got run over by it. Here’s the Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Corrie

  • semi-cranky teacher

    Nextset, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about in a lot of cases even as you’re pretending to be an omniscient genius.

    Just to pick out one sentence of many: To say that 1942 Oakland and 2008 Oakland are basically the same for poor children is so historically ignorant as to undermine the credibility of all your other arguments. You are ignoring the effects of enormous changes in the economic and social fabric in that time period, from the level of fatherless children to the destructive power of the drug trade (starting in the 70s/80s) to the SEVERE decline in working class and union job opportunities. Sure, some kids can overcome all odds to succeed — but to say the odds are still the same is silly. (Calories and facilities?! You can’t be serious to think these are the primary inputs.)

    Just to clarify, though: I would never encourage a student to get into a physical confrontation with a police officer. That does not excuse a trained police officer if they use extreme force where it is uncalled for. Are you for tasering people, of any age, who engage in nonviolent civil disobedience? A retarded, unarmed man who doesn’t understand orders? Young children?

    Your logic doesn’t work in reverse, either: If these teens are so infantile that they have no civil rights or political voice (a ludicrous claim if we are still supposed to be training lifeling little d democrats), then isn’t tasering them a form of child abuse? C’mon, folks, aren’t there any shades of gray in your world?

    And as for the dig at the word “educators,” this is just a blanket word to clarify that we are talking about all the people who work at a school, not just the teachers.

  • Nextset

    Semi C: Amusing points.

    WWII Had living conditions worse than those present now – for the lower class especially. That’s my take on it. Our public schools as well as Catholic Schools did better with all the students. OUSD’s present “return” on it’s students is unacceptable to me and reflects bad policy and teachers that aren’t allowed to teach or who are just bad teachers. But that’s a different debate.

    As to the Police Use of Force issue I don’t see anything in your position to debate. Police may kill teens if the situation meets UOF guidelines and your school fails to teach the kiddies that such rules apply to them – instead peddling entitlement and victimhood. I’d suggest Chris Rock’s Video about how not to get your ass kicked by the police which is on UTube.

    Democracy being taught is a good thing but your students usually don’t know the basics of their own government and laws because OUSD carefully doesn’t teach them much of anything – including literacy. OUSD has some of the very worst reading scores in the state of CA.

    I don’t have to pretend to be anything. I’m not a OUSD teacher.

    Well, We’ve beat this dead horse enough. See you on an another issue!

  • pechkin

    Well, it seems like Nextset called the discussion over, since he’s in charge we better stop talking about this.
    It is true that the students (not quite kids, and not quite adults at 16) should have known better than to interfere with usually aggressive and paranoid cops. The cops deal with violence daily and have no time to think anything over when a situation is escalating, their job is to keep the peace, and they are ruled by stereotypes as well as by adrenaline.

    However, tazering is very painful, violent and maddening, and is not a just punishment for an impulsive hotheaded teen. Neither is a bullet.

    But, Nextset, our topic catalyst, seems to side wholly with the imaginary old coot/conservative/law abiding/Neitschean citizenry. He trusts fully into the law, while we all know that the law and its executors, the cops, are often imperfect and have far more faults in their processes and actions than any OUSD students ever. Cops kill innocent people daily, just like they catch criminals daily.

    Without being there and knowing the details of the event from all sides of the story, who here can really say what’s just?

  • An OUSD Highschooler



    and finally, im conviced that this nextset person is a libertarian…

  • Mr. G

    I stayed out of this one on purpose. An enjoyable series of posts, for sure.

    My money is that he is a self described “independent conservative.” I’ll give you 2-1 odds.

  • Nextset

    pechkin: OK, I’ll take the bait.

    You just don’t get it. No I don’t trust the cops, I don’t trust the DA, I think John Burris does a public service (and the kids involved here might want to at least consult with him, especially before any more “demonstrations”. I do think the cops and law enforcement are highly predictable so I have little problems with them at the moment. They are not going to save anybody, they are only a clean up crew for the dead bodies in Oakland.

    You miss the point about my problem with children running around during school time playing Martin Luther King – or being encouraged to.

    These children have been conditioned by somebody to act out on their own without acting with their parent’s or in concert with adult authority. That put them out on the street where they could get run over by the horses.

    The difference between prison bound, VD ridden, unwed mother ghetto trash and those who make it in this world is Judgment, Planning, and a sense of timing. I believe the Oakland Schools has totally failed their students (who are largely black) because OUSD pushes a liberal “it’s all about you” agenda instead of the opposite. Incidents like this at the age range given here is the result. The more insidious results we see in the graveyards and prisons. The silly comments from the students to each other are classic and they will not survive in the economy thinking this way.

    Yes I see a connection between this nonsense and the students being unable to pass the telephone test or verbal standardized tests. They are so full of self esteem they are reckless and the school helped make them this way.

    Regardless of Race I expect better deportment from OUSD students and it’s just not going to happen with the current crew in charge. The orthodoxy running the place is mainly interested in keeping the black folks happy which is the last thing they should be doing. If that school system did it’s job the students would be hanging on by the fingernails and would have really accomplished something at graduation instead of being un-hirable.

    Sorry I’m not a ray of sunshine on this topic. I am angry about this thing happening also. These kids are canarys in the mine for a lot of problems, much of which the Schools and the Tribune are keeping under wraps. If the schools did their job, regardless of any family problems – the OUSD students would wear better.

  • http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/ban-tasers-from-police Ban Tasers Petition

    Glad the boy survived. And to the person who finds it repulsive that this 16 yr old is referred to as child [as opposed to teen or young adult] do you really think it would further your cause?

    I bet you would prefer it if he were referred to as man eh? Then it would not sound as heinous and as egregious as it is.

    Ban Tasers Petition:

  • cranky teacher

    I’m not going to respond to Nextset anymore — if he thinks having your dad being off at war for two years is the same has having him be in jail for 10-20 is the same for a child, then we really don’t have the common ground to have a discussion.

    However, I agree that this is a good conversation — the first I’ve seen on this blog — so I’d love to try and stoke it a bit further.

    We all have ideas about what’s right or wrong with schools, cops, kids, etc. Those opinions reflect our experiences, our political views, our analysis of human nature, etc. I just think we shouldn’t be quite so wedded to them.

    Bashing the Oakland School System is pointless — it’s like walking about to a homeless alcoholic and saying, “You’re a loser.” NOBODY who thinks about these things is happy about the outcomes in this school district (or nearly any other school district that serves mostly poor people.)

    But to overgeneralize is to dilute truth until it is undrinkable, like a watery coke after the ice melts. If you actually spend your days with teenagers, teachers, parents, and the rest, you find that there is an incredible range in the maturity levels, qualities and behavior of all participants in this muddle.

    Nextset is telling us these spoiled babies should all be locked up in a fortress for their own protection until the magic age of 18, respecting authority like the “good old days.” As if age is the best indicator of maturity! Consider that in traditional societies, teenagers start and run families.

    The reality is that these kids are already survivors and, as has already been pointed out here, are making grown-up decisions every day in the absence of parental support. I have many students, both successful and not, who live alone in apartments with cousins or siblings or in group or foster homes. Many of my students have jobs that are their primary means of purchasing clothes, school supplies and the rest. Some work at Safeway or movie theaters well into the night.

    If they are then making decisions about how they want their school and community and nation to be, it is ridiculous to belittle them for it.

  • Ryan Barnes

    I completely agree with the use of a taser. Whether it is, let’s say, in a “white school” (like the first commenter said) or in a multi-racial school. It does NOT matter. We need MUCH stricter force in schools to keep order. Just look at Oakland schools! They’re HORRIBLE! You know that. EVERYONE knows that. Do you know why? Because we do NOT have an efficient and SAFE working environment for students. It’s strictly ghetto and the students do NOT care. We don’t put those students who don’t care in their place. Thus, they get bold and challenge those above them, such as policemen. To all who say that use of a taser is wrong, all I have to say is please, grow a spine. If there is anyone who is threatening a policeman, or anyone else, then force must be used against that person. Period.

    Yes, this student deserved to be tasered. He became BOLD and tried to confront a policeman. He resisted. Thus, the policeman had a right to put the student in his place.

    And before I receive any negative comment about this (I’m sure I will), I’d just like to say that if a white student were to do this, then I would still ABSOLUTELY stand by what I just stated. This is NOT a matter of race, skin color, or privileged schools over poorer schools, as the first commenter so clearly thinks. It is a matter of SAFETY. END of story.

  • Nextset

    I’m back again! Cranky Teacher is just too much fun not to respond.

    One of the reasons I address the child as a child is that the child is still eligible for JUVENILE COURT. We don’t normally hold 16 year olds criminally liable for their crimes as we do adults because we know how susceptable they are to bad parenting, bad schools and immaturity in general (as shown in this case). When they grow up, say after age 25, they may still become law abiding and tax paying Americans.

    You people who insist on describing “LaShun” as a man are doing so because you actually believe, in addition to all people being created equal, that children are the same as adults. For example you likely believe children have a right to a sex life, etc. That type of nonsense is pushed in the ghetto public schools – children have “rights” of adults. Which is why we see these hormonal adolescents taking it to the streets over something that is none of their business. They have been taught to think this way without fear of consequences. This (bad) school carefully avoids giving them meaningful consequences but, darn, you still have that problem of the horses in the street…

    Keep it up, Cranky Teacher. You and people like you will get these black children unemployed, battered, VD ridden, addicted and imprisoned. If they were taught the way I was – and most of my generation was (regardless of race) – you wouldn’t have today’s mortality rates today for black 15-25 year olds.

    And I don’t mind getting racial at all. LaShun and people like him are not considered valuable enough to discipline by white liberals and their goofy black leftists. Middle Class White Children are considered smarter and more valuable so their schools don’t normally let them run in the street. That’s what is going on here and at OUSD. “LaShun” will probably get patted on the head for this.

    Congrat’s LaShun, you now have a rap sheet at 16. We call this “early onset”. It puts you in a different statistical box. You can forget about certain career paths that at this point in your life you don’t think are important, but pay well. You have narrowed your prospects. Do you think your lefty schools will tell you about it? They won’t.

  • Adam

    Anyone who is making this a race issue is an out right idiot. Saying that this would not happen at a “white school” is just downright stupid. I happen to know many officers who have had to use their taser and having the taser is the best thing that has ever happened to the Police Departments. It gives officers an option that they did not have before. This individual who was resisting arrest should have been tased. Had he not and the struggle continued and the kid ended up with a broken bone or other injury the officer involved would be catching even more crap then he is now. So what the kid was tased. Does it hurt? Hell yeah it hurts. Is it going to cause permenant damage? No. The kid is fine now. Bottom line is don’t resist. If you are being arrested as much as it hurts your ego or pride or what ever DO NOT resist. It is only going to make things worse. I think that it is totaly unfair that the officer involved has to deal with all this critisism from people who have no idea what it is like to be a police officer, to have to make the decisions they have to make, to deal with the crap that they deal with because no one else will.

  • Sue

    Um, Nextset, were you unaware that juvenile records are sealed once the kid turns 18? If this student keeps out of trouble, he’ll face none of the consequences you’ve claimed. And since he had no previous juvenile record, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ve known plenty of kids who made one mistake and learned from it, and somehow I’ve managed to avoid ever knowing any that just kept getting into trouble.

  • Katy Murphy

    It is also possible that no charges have been filed against him in juvenile court. As of last Thursday, more than a week after the incident, none had been filed with the D.A.’s office.

  • Nextset


    It’s a myth that juvenile records don’t follow the criminal around.

    16 year old criminals can be ordered to register as sex offenders for life, and other registrations. 16 year old criminals can get STRIKES – I see blacks being sentenced on juvenile strikes (yes, blacks are most of the criminal court calendar in urban areas) to serious prison terms for even minor felonies. This is less common in Oakland (due to strike policy in the Bay Area) and more common in other counties around Northern CA (who enforce the 3 strike law to the hilt). Many Teen criminals also forfeit their gun rights. As if all this isn’t enough, teens under 18 can be tried as adults under certain conditions. This is a pity sometimes because no-one explains to them what criminal law is or how it works (vicarious liability!) The so-called sealed teen records now appear on adult DMV and Criminal computer files and when attempting to travel to Canada and the EU, people can expected to be confronted with their records at customs and turned back of the foreign customs officer doesn’t like what she sees. Canada blocks admission all the time for DUI’s and other crimes (you have to apply for a Minister’s Waiver before attempting to enter Canada if you have any such record).

    16 year old criminals begin to forego reference letters because good teachers with a reputation will not push them for work and school opportunites that come open later.

    And lastly, many government jobs – such as peace officer jobs – have full access to data on arrests in the teen years. I have one person I provided a reference for who went through a severe background check for intelligence industry clearance in the WA DC area. There are well over 15,000 people working with security clearances. He makes triple what a young man typically makes at his age (try $65k a year for duties that include emptying wastebaskets as well as his career job). The $$ he makes including the OT assignments are predicated on his clearances since no one without them can set foot on the campus he works on and they are very hard clearances to get (routine and random polygraph exams, no contact allowed w foreign nationals, no foreign travel w/o advance permission, etc). They use the younger people for some janitorial duties as OT.

    LaShun is well on his way to being disqualified for all kinds of interesting things which he wouldn’t have thought of anyway but I could have steered him into. Some of the interesting things a young man can do deselect for any adverse police contact like getting Tasered fighting a cop.

    I’d prefer that LaShun’s public school have kept his rear in a class seat and covered such material so that LaShun might have had a clue how to conduct himself in public – especially in the presence of a Cop. Alas, that’s not the way the schools work today.

  • Nextset

    Sue, I forgot to mention that I am talking about the arrest record as well as the juvenile adjuication of a charge. The police arrest record is not segregated and does get into the “lifetime” file of the individual, which is now computerized. And it’s the police files not the court files that are fed to state and national databases (customs has ready access) and are discoverable in any government background investigation.

    LaShun is not ruined for life, BUT an arrest entry has been made, so he has a “file since” age 16. “Early Onset”. If this is all that ever happens to him that’s great. But he is now in a different table of statistics because he has such an arrest at 16.