Thursday, November 18, 1999
Detroit students get unruly during second rape walkout
Schools chief urges punishment, possible student suspensions.
By Brian Harmon and George Hunter / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- High school students again skipped
classes Wednesday and hit the streets to vent frustration
over the rapes of nine girls, attacked this fall while walking
to or from school.
But this group's demonstrations were rowdier than the
larger, coordinated protests Tuesday by high-schoolers
across the city. Police detained at least five students from
Denby and Finney high schools because of fights,
vandalism and shoplifting Wednesday. One teen-ager was
arrested, police said.
The more than 2,000 students who participated in the
first day of walkouts do not face disciplinary action.But
David Adamany, chief executive of Detroit Public
Schools, is encouraging principals to punish students who
demonstrated during school hours Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old Osborne High School
student may have thwarted another assault attempt. The
girl told police she was waiting for a city bus Wednesday
morning when a man approached and demanded she get
in his car. The girl blew a whistle, which brought local
merchants out of their shops, and the man drove away.
One of those facing punishment for his street protest
Wednesday is junior Jaisyn Walker, who said Finney
High administrators told him he'll likely be suspended for
walking out of school about 10 a.m. for nearly three hours
with hundreds of schoolmates.
"We couldn't walk out Tuesday because we only had a
half-day of school. So we walked out today," said
Walker, 18. "They really should not suspend us, because
we were protesting for the safety of our students."
Students from Cody, Henry Ford and Osborn high
schools also skipped classes. About 500 students left the
five schools, a district spokesman said.
"The students got everyone's attention on Tuesday. It
doesn't make sense to walk out today," said Candace
Howard, a Finney senior who stayed in class.
Alma Myers, whose daughter, Crystal, is a freshman at
Murray-Wright High, fears the orderly conduct during
Tuesday's demonstrations may be overshadowed by the
"The students have the public's attention. They should
keep it on a peaceful level, an intelligent level," Myers
said. "They need to do something that will appeal to the
politicians, because, after all, Election Day is coming up."
Thefts at the Diamond Market on Houston Whittier,
down the block from Denby High, were among the uglier
moments from Wednesday's demonstrations. Manager
Marvin Mikhaim said students stormed his east side shop.
"A bunch of them came in here and started throwing
things and stealing from me," Mikhaim said. "I tried to get
them to leave, but they started yelling at me and gave me
a hard time."
Mikhaim pointed to a row of empty shelves. "Those
kids stole a lot of merchandise from me: doughnuts, chips
and peanuts. I don't understand it. What does this have to
do with the rapes?"
The group of students continued down Houston
Whittier, pounding on doors and windows of stores.
Moussa Karambiri, manager of a nearby Total gas
station, said the students broke his door.
"They say they're out protesting. But what good does
breaking my door do? It isn't going to fix the problem,"
During the first day of protests, Mayor Dennis Archer
promised to beef up police vigilance in school
neighborhoods. Parents and students noticed more
officers Wednesday morning around such high schools as
Denby and Murray-Wright.
But as students walked home from those schools,
police presence was minimal.
"I saw a lot of cops this morning," said Denby
sophomore LaToiya Richardson. "But where are they
She pointed to an alley. "They should be patrolling that alley,
but I haven't seen one cop
car out here since school let out. Where are they?" Richardson said.
Connie Moore, whose son is a freshman at Denby, also saw many squad cars early
"But I haven't seen any of them out here this afternoon," she said. "I don't know what
happened. I didn't see any police at Columbus, either." Her 12-year-old son attends
Columbus Middle School on the east side.
"It's ridiculous," Moore said. "They said they were going to be out here. I don't
Assistant Chief Charles Wilson, leading the beefed-up school patrol effort, said that
indeed more officers were in and around schools during the morning than in the afternoon.
"That's when most of the rapes have taken place," he said.
Copyright 1999, The Detroit News